Stonier, drier, cooler and windier than Marlborough’s main valley, the Awatere’s hilly, rough coastal terrain conspires to produce distinctive, intensely vibrant wines on OTU Estate.
OTU Estate’s wines are bold and vibrant because their vines hang off the coastal edge, taking the brunt of the wild coastal winds that weather the south coast of Marlborough NZ. OTU Estate’s vines work hard. And all that hard work and hot sunshine goes into the grapes – meaning their Sauvignon Blanc grapes are a little more intensely aromatic, textural and vibrant than the larger, inland valley’s of Marlborough. The winemaker’s Sauvignon Blanc is truly grown on the wild coast of Marlborough – which gives their wine a unique edge.
The OTU Estate is located directly south of Marlborough’s Wairau Valley, in the Awatere Valley; the coolest and driest of Marlborough’s three sub-regions. Situated right at the edge of the ocean where exposed cliffs and untamed coastline meets the OTU Estate vineyard blocks, the growing season this far south in Marlborough is longer, with high sunshine hours and ripening is extended – allowing for a perfect balance of intense flavour, delicious acidity and ideal ripeness at harvest.
Wild and sea swept, OTU Estate is positioned at the edge of the Southern Ocean – where the ancient Otu̅whero River runs through the lower Awatere Valley, of Marlborough New Zealand.
Planting commenced in the year 2000 for the five vineyard blocks that currently total 330ha across the OTU Vineyard Estate, set alongside the coastline and ancient Otu̅whero River.
Each block possesses clear defining flavour characteristics from the rolling, sea swept and highly terraced terrain. Within the OTU estate, 160ha is fully planted, predominantly with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, with the balance to be developed over the coming years.
OTU Estate’s Winemaker
Renowned winemaker Jeff Clarke was appointed Winemaker at emerging Awatere Marlborough Wine Estates Group Ltd in 2019.
Starting his winemaker career in Australia at Penfolds Wines, Jeff then developed his craft in New Zealand for 17 years at Montana Wines & Pernod Ricard where he gained significant experience in emerging cool climate varieties of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. More recently, Jeff has guided and grown several leading NZ wine companies through new wine styles, new markets and new winemaking facilities.
Whilst at Montana, as head of the winemaking team, Jeff was honored twice and named “International White Winemaker of the Year” first at the London International Wine Challenge in 1999 and again in Japan in 2003, in addition to being nominated by leading UK wine journalist Tim Atkin as one of his six top winemakers globally, Jeff joins the MWE team with a wealth of skill and experience.
Born and raised in Melbourne, Victoria Australia, Jeff was introduced to wine by his beloved grandfather—an avid back country skier, highland trekker, and man of the country. Jeff remembers warmly, weekly family dinners with his ‘Poppa’, who shared his new-found love of fine wine and food, a passion gained from his shared experiences with his European born friends in the skiing and alpine communities.
Jeff has played a leading role in the continued development of the now world-famous Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc wine style, and also helped drive the development of New Zealand Pinot Noir.
OTU Estate’s Wines
OTU Estate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Awarded 98 Points by Australia’s Winestate Magazine Nov 2021 and 90 Points by Wine Spectator April 22
OTU Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2020
Available in selected Seioishii stores.