Clearview Estate Winery, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

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Continuing my journey through Hawke’s Bay, Tim Turvey of Clearview Estate Winery picked me up in his truck and we set off for a coastal vineyard and photography tour, replete with striking views of the shimmering aqua-blue bay. Clearview, and many of its vines, sit near the shore in a southerly location known as Te Awanga (pronounced like Tijuana, but no tacos or tequila in sight).

Turvey purchased the property that would become the winery in 1986, and bottled his first vintage in 1989. We had a brilliant afternoon in the dazzling sun (which seared my nose—the UV light dangers of NZ are no joke) largely because Tim struck me immediately upon sight, then further after a few loose, speedy turns up, over and around curbs in the car, as my father’s kiwi winemaker doppelganger. From the bleached hair and suntan, to the eyeglass frames, driving antics, and cool-dude attitude, I couldn’t believe my good luck to spend a few hours with Jim! I hoped Tim wouldn’t  be upset by the comparison, but figured I probably looked nuts for continuously cracking up inexplicably at his responses to my questions, so I confessed. He laughed, and replied “well, funny you say that, my daughter looks just like you” and he whipped out his iphone and pulled up her photo. His daughter is Katie Turvey, up-and-coming winemaker for Kilikanoon Wines in Clare Valley, Australia. Just like dad, I’ve got an antipodean winemaker doppelganger too.

Signature Wines and Prices:

  • Reserve Chardonnay $36 NZD,
  • Old Olive Block (a Cabernets dominant Bordeaux blend) $36 NZD

What philosophy guides your viticulture and winemaking?

Let the attributes of the vineyard shine through.  When the vintage is good we don’t need to do a lot of winemaking.

What is your biggest challenge as a winemaker (e.g., volatility of Mother Nature, expense to income ratio, having to actually market your wine)? Weather, being a maritime climate we have some challenges.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of grapegrowing and winemaking in your region? Cool climate viticulture on the edge.

What excites you most about New Zealand wines right now? The vines attaining 30 years of age and starting to see complexity as a result.

How do you think Americans (or the outside world) perceive NZ wines?

They love the freshness that our maritime South Pacific climate produces.  We have wines with great, fresh acidity and vibrant flavours — a reflection of our clean climate.

Which wine or grape (in the world) is the least understood or respected? Merlot and Malbec are very undervalued as they are consistent producers, especially here in Hawke’s Bay.

What do you drink at home when relaxing? Chardonnay in all its forms from sparkling to dry

How do you spend your free time (if you have any)? I don’t have a lot, but when I do, I spend it with friends and family, and normally with good food and wine.

If you could be traveling somewhere else right now, where would you be? Cahors or St. Emillion

Give one surprising fact about yourself. I’m self-taught: nurseryman, viticulturalist, winemaker, tiler, builder, furniture maker, financier, marketer, and educator.

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