This is a story about a place like no other. On the edge of the world, watched by the Three Deans range to the West and sheltered from the stiff sea wind by the Teviotdale hills, our place is in the heart of the North Canterbury wine region.
It's as if the mountain sprawled there, high ridges along its spine. In the crook of an elbow, sheltering us from the sea wind, it made a place for us, and this place is our Saving Grace.
With the Southern Alps rising away, helping funnel the Nor ‘Wester down the valley, you're quickly left in no doubt about who's in charge. It's Mother Nature. And our people take their kaitiakitanga seriously: we're here as guardians. It's a tricky place to grow grapes, on the edge of viticulture nirvana, the wind is sometimes playful, sometimes a relentless howl, it tests you, teases you and tramples on your heart, wearing you down to your last ounce of energy, and then it without warning it can be gentle and work with you to deliver the most pristine fruit to make into wine. We wouldn't have it any other way.
A good Nor'Wester. Mettle tester. Jester, wear-a-warm-vester. It's our benefactor, tease, best mate. Better a good wind than a spray. Sometimes it howls three days' work away. But still. It's our Saving Grace.
Over a quarter of a century, viticulturist Jean Luc has tended our vines, many of which he planted all those years ago. Together with diverse companion plants and the beneficial insects they encourage, we've learnt how to keep things in balance.
It's a riot of life here, if you look. Native jasmine hosting nature's pest controllers. Bees bumbling drunk on nectar. Leaf pluckers in the shape of sheep. Mycorrhizae making magic. It's our Saving Grace, for sure.
There are four Saving Graces: here's the last one. Our people are everything. We call them lifers, because they've dedicated decades to this place. Jean Luc, Ben, Chris, Tina, Alastair, Doug, Dennis, and Jude. These people are the family of Saving Grace. They've welcomed winemaker Brownie like family too. We all look out for each other, and we're proud of it. Love, but not the loud kind. The home block at dawn from the smoko room; quiet awe, belonging. Loyal — not leaky boat loyal, but quarter century loyal. Our people. Our place. Our Saving Grace.
Andrew Brown - Winemaker, Saving Grace
Andrew's love of the land started from a young age; his first taste of harvest was cropping the swedes on his family farm in Waitahuna, South Otago, at the tender age of six. On the winemaking front, Andrew has worked in Alsace, Oregon, Central Otago and Marlborough. Even with many harvests under his belt, he still thrives on the thrills and challenges they deliver.
"Trialling winemaking techniques and learning from these is what I really look forward to. As well as working with new vineyards and ferments….. as long as they behave themselves!