Spy Valley is located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. In 1993, owners Bryan and Jan Johnson planted their first vineyards on the terraces of the Omaka River in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley. Initially they sold fruit to local companies but in 2000, produced and sold their first vintage of Spy Valley.
The estate now spans more than 400 acres and the vineyards have been certified sustainable by the New Zealand Winegrowers Sustainability Programme and the International Environmental Standard ISO 14001. Nine varietals ‒ Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec ‒ are grown on three different types of terroir. The terraces in the Johnson estate are composed of two soil types: young, stony free draining soils or older soils which have deeper layers of river gravel, clay and topsoil. The vineyards at Outpost in the Omaka Valley were planted in 1999 on north facing hill slopes to deep loess soils. The Wairau Valley portion of the estate – also known as Area H171 – is a 57 acre vineyard planted on an old river bed composed of soils that range from stony river wash to deep and fine alluvium seams.
Spy Valley’s Chief Winemaker Paul Bourgeois is joined by winemaker Kathy-Lee Sowman and viticulturist Adam McCone. Spy Valley is amongst New Zealand’s most decorated wineries, winning the IWSC New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year twice, in 2008 and again in 2010. The portfolio includes three levels: the approachable Satellite series, Spy Valley and the single-vineyard offerings called Envoy. The name, Spy Valley, is derived from the presence of a nearby satellite communications monitoring station (spy base), part of the Echelon Global Network.
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