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The single vineyard ‘Pioneer Block’ wines of Saint Clair require separate handling, the winery using 250 small tanks to manage this. The amount of detail for winemakers Matt Thomson and Hamish Clark and their team is considerable, but the result is a fascinating range of wines that express their origin and site. In essence Saint Clair is bottling ‘terroir’ for keen wine enthusiasts to ponder and enjoy. The quality per se of the ‘Pioneer Block’ wines has been extremely high as well, reflecting the identification of superior as well as individual vineyards by Saint Clair’s owner Neal Ibbotson.
Raymond Chan

Press Releases

No Whining from Winning Winery

19 March 2009

The future looks bright for Saint Clair Family Estate, a winery bucking the trends of the current economic climate.

While the internationally renowned winery has naturally experienced some effects of the recent tendency for New Zealand buyers to trade down, certain market segments have remained steady and in some cases have even improved.

Saint Clair overseas sales are demonstrating similar trends to those in New Zealand. Expensive wines in more exclusive restaurants are experiencing a decline in sales, while wines such as the Saint Clair’s Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, which retails at around 13 UK pounds, are continuing to be in strong demand. Saint Clair has also seen exports to Western Australia, Sweden Ireland and parts of Asia, just to name a few, flourishing in the past year.

And with the demand for Marlborough Sauvignon growing at the phenomenal rate of 25% per year, it looks like Saint Clair will not be slowing down any time soon.

Much of Saint Clair’s continuing success can be attributed not only to its well-established international profile and award-winning wines, but to the tight knit nature of the family owned and operated winery. For example, Saint Clair ensures all hard working vintage staff are welcomed to the winery with a box of truly New Zealand goodies, including Buzz Bars, Moa Beer, Sweet Meadow New Zealand Honey, and – of course - Saint Clair wine.

Managing Director for Saint Clair Family Estate, Neal Ibbotson, comments, “We truly value our team. Whether they are highly experienced, qualified wine makers, or contracted cellar hands each and everyone of them becomes part of our family and committed to our philosophy of producing quality wine we would all be proud to drink. People may be trading down, but long term they still look for a good drop rather than a cheap one. Quality wine floats to the top”

While the winery, who exports to over 55 worldwide markets and hires vintage staff from all over the world - France, Italy, Sweden, Chile, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Taiwan, Australia and of course, New Zealand – is undoubtedly global in scope, it nonetheless stays true to its family ties. And despite the changing economy, this is one aspect of business that will always remain constant for Saint Clair.

The winery is currently gearing up for vintage operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week so as to meet sales. And with the warm days and cool nights that March has bought so far providing ideal conditions for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, the 2009 harvest holds the potential to be Saint Clair’s best year yet.

Prepared on behalf of Saint Clair Family Estate by the pr shop. For further information please contact Neal Ibbotson on (03) 57 88695 or Pippa Lekner on (09) 368 1078 or email Neal