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Sharing the love of wine and romance

Tom O'Leary Dec 12
Sharing the love of wine and romance
Marcelo Nunez and Emma Lowe - loving their life at Monowai Estate.

High altitude, free draining soils, cooler temperatures and much love combine to produce the deliciously aromatic and award winning wines of Monowai Estate.

Located on the river terraces of Crowthorpe, a high altitude district of Hawke’s Bay, the cooler evenings extend the grape’s ripening period—perfect conditions for pinotgris, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, merlot and pinotnoir varieties.

Planted on 22 hectares of gently sloping terrace land on the northern bank of the Ngaruroro River, the first small crop of grapes was ready for the 2005 vintage, just in time for completion of the winery built into the upper terrace.

The romance of the vineyard is brought to life by the meaning behind ‘Monowai’ —‘one water’—referencing the Pacific Ocean—that single expanse of water separating New Zealand and Chile—respective homelands of Emma Lowe and her Chilean husband Marcelo Nunez.

Monowai Estate is Emma and Marcelo’s love child – with each playing an integral part in the successful operation from planting to harvest to production.

Graduating with a degree in winemaking from Adelaide University, Emma has made wines in Australia, Switzerland, South Africa, France, Chile and New Zealand.

Marcelo has been extensively involved in both viticulture and winemaking in Chile and New Zealand.“My role here is to manage the wine making, marketing and administration,” says Emma.

“I just love the whole process where you take a relatively uncomplicated ingredient like a grape and make it into so many different styles, influenced not only by the place it’s grown but all the steps along the way. “Marcelo manages the vineyard and is in charge of making sure the grapes are perfect when they arrive at the winery—making my job a lot easier.”

By exclusively using grapes from their own vine-yards with hands-on vineyard and winery management, Emma and Marcelo assure that the quality of their product is maintained from vine to bottle. That continuity has recently been taken a step further with the purchase of their own harvester.

“We’ve always been a little at the mercy of contractors as to when they could fit us in—but now we can harvest exactly when best suits us,” explains Emma.

“These days the fruit the harvester picks is just single berries with minimal leaf or anything else.” In 2015 Emma and Marcelo decided to add a Reserve range to their wines’ styles.

Identifying Richard Loader specific blocks in the vineyard earmarked for more love and care, yields were reduced and a chardonnay and pinotnoir named Upper Reaches produced.“There’s more new oak and a bit more work in those wines—they’re looking really good.

“There’s a lovely buttery chardonnay—a char-donnay for chardonnay drinkers—and the intensity of the pinotnoir is a step up with tastes of lovely black cherries.” While Monowai Estate does not have a cellar door open all the time, it is open by appointment says Emma.

“People can come out and experience a tour of the winery and vineyard along with tastings of our delicious wines. “It’s a beautiful spot overlooking the river and on a fine sunny day people can bring their picnic baskets.”

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