Sea creatures connect wine and land

It was a comment from a wine critic about labels looking like 1980s bedspreads that was the catalyst for Moana Park Estate brand new bottle design.

And the new look on their Growers Series is stunning.

Featuring nautical creatures and tales of the sea, the new-look bottles draw on the history of Moana Park Estate's heritage 3ha Puketapu block, home to one of Hawke's Bay's best wineries and cellar doors.

Co-owner Grant Humphrey says the new-look labels for their growers series tell the story of Hawke's Bay's connection to the land and sea.

The land was, for thousands of years, nutrient dense seabed, but was raised from the ocean during the Napier Earthquake in 1931.

"It a classic look and will tell our story when we take it offshore," Humphrey said.

Moana Park Estate wine maker Dan Barker said they have a hands-off approach to winemaking believing that the less they put into their wines the better they are.

"I learned early on in my winemaking career that I suffer from allergies to preservative sulphites, which are added to a vast majority of wines in New Zealand," Barker said.

"As a winemaker who couldn't enjoy the fruits of my labour, I set about fixing the problem. I wanted to take the winemaking process back to basics, with a hands-off approach that requires no preservatives. At Moana Park we call it Lo-Fi winemaking.

"Our Lo-Fi approach allows our wine to speak for itself, to tell its own stories of the land it comes from, with no need for additives.

"We honour nature. We want to leave a better legacy so we make organic wine with no nasty stuff. We take careful care of our fruit on the vine and carry that right through to the bottle."

Producing additive-free wines is nothing new to Barker.

"We first started creating wine this way more than15 years ago. At the time, there was little interest or demand from consumers for this type of wine.

"But now, it's clear we've led the way for other wineries to produce additive-free, plant-based, vegan-friendly wines.

"The approach has experienced a huge rise in demand over the past few years. We are thrilled to have been a part of this story in New Zealand."

The relaunch is being held this weekend and Humphrey says it will also give people a chance to have a look around after the successful change of ownership.

Humphrey and co-owner Ross Burney of Taiga Group Limited are excited to reveal their new look after a rise in offshore sales following their acquisition last August.

"For Moana Park Estate, it's about showcasing the heritage of the brand.

We would love to see you at our cellar door for an unpretentious, warm and welcoming atmosphere and a magical tasting experience," Humphrey said.

"We are planning a series of events and have some good acts booked for early next year. Moana Park Estate is the perfect spot to sit have a picnic and listen to some great music."

Moana Park Estate was first planted with vines in 1981 with some of New Zealand's oldest sauvignon blanc. Since opening the winery and cellar door in 2000, its portfolio of vineyards has expanded beyond the heritage block in Puketapu to draw from other iconic Hawke's Bay sub-regions, including the prized Gimblett Gravels.

You can find the new look Moana Park Estate Lo-Fi wines exclusively at the Moana Park Estate Cellar Door, and at select liquor stores later this year.

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