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So far, the 2011s show plenty of promise and some pretty terrific wines and values. At the top of the list, not surprisingly, is Saint Clair. Saint Clair winemaker Matt Thomson is passionate about Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and he's exploring the region in depth with the Pioneer Block series, which focuses on select parcels and vineyard sites. I like those wines very much but the reserve bottling is truly the standout - aromatic and elegant, and wonderfully delicious.
Keeping it in the Family01 March 2008
Saint Clair Family Estate brand launched
A rebranding to Saint Clair Family Estate reflects the importance of the family connection for this highly successful Marlborough business.
The Ibbotson family has achieved a lot since first planting vines in 1978 and making wine under its own label nearly 15 years ago. Renowned as making the country’s, and perhaps the world’s, best Sauvignon Blanc it has also earned trophies for Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Riesling. In fact, Saint Clair has won an astounding 50 trophies and 140 gold medals since 2001!
Neal and Judy Ibbotson are the owners – it is their passion for the terroir and the challenge of making better wine each harvest that is attributed to the success of the business. Son Tony is responsible for the graphic design - he has been refining and expanding Saint Clair's range of labels since he designed the first label as a student in 1994. Sisters Sarina and Julie both work in sales and marketing in the company - Sarina is based in New Zealand and Julie in Sydney, Australia.
Neal Ibbotson comments, “They say every business has their price, but not Saint Clair. We started this as a family business and were delighted when our children grew to share the same passion that Judy and I have had for the land and the wines our vines produce. Our rebranding reflects this shared passion and our commitment to keeping it in the family – with no pressure on the grandchildren! We love doing business the family way and by family I mean the whole Saint Clair team.”
In March 2006 Saint Clair opened a new state-of-the-art high tech winery. In 2007 it was extended and more land was bought for additional tanks. Also in 2007, a new vineyard to expand production of Pinot Noir was bought in the Waihopai Valley.
Labels with the new branding are now available and will gradually be introduced to all of Saint Clair's four brand ranges over the next 12 months. The website is currently being redesigned and will be relaunched in May 2008 (www.saintclair.co.nz).
Saint Clair currently exports to 45 markets around the world including listings at the luxurious Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and the deluxe London five-star hotel Claridge's. The Ibbotsons' will continue to grow the business to meet the ever-increasing demand for their wines both at home and around the world.
Marlborough will always be integral in Saint Clair's grape growing and winemaking with less than one percent coming from outside the region. That one percent is for new niche varieties like Syrah and Viognier, which grow best in hotter grape growing areas. The team at Saint Clair want to ensure they are providing the best offering for their customers and to do this they need to ensure they can provide varieties that are in growth demand, but may not necessarily grow well in the cooler Marlborough climate. As a result, they now have six vineyard sites - Rapaura, Doctor's Creek and the Waihopai, Awatere and Omaka Valleys, Benmorven.
Prepared on behalf of Saint Clair Estate Wines by the pr shop. For further information please contact Pippa Lekner on (09) 368 1078, 021 500 760 or email firstname.lastname@example.org