Food & Drink Awards 2018 Page 75 LUX 2018 Food & Drink Awards Clos Henri has been highly praised and regarded. While the Marlborough region is by far the largest wine region of New Zealand with some corporate brands producing large volume of wines, Clos Henri’s concept has become unique. Respecting their approach from Sancerre, they decided to work on a smaller vineyard concentrating their efforts on quality and expression of terroir (place). First, the vineyard has been planted in high density, 5,000 plants per hectare compared to the standard Marlborough density of 2,000 plants per hectare. The high-density planting, a traditional practice in France, allows more competition between the vines encouraging a deeper root system. In turn, this deeper root system helps the plants source their water much deeper in the soil, so no irrigation is required. The team believe a deep root system combined with dry farming practices is key to have vines expressing authentically their terroir, their place. Since 2013, the vineyard has been fully certified organic and farmed with biodynamic principles. With the view to preserving the health of the vines and the soil that support them, farming organically became the obvious path. Today these technical decisions have shaped Clos Henri’s vineyard and its wines to a unique product which has soul and a sense of place. The Bourgeois family, long term winegrowers in the Loire Valley, consider themselves privileged to farm this precious piece of land in Marlborough. Over the past two decades, the wines of the Marlborough region, particularly its Sauvignon Blanc have had an incredible commercial success worldwide. Seeing the great business opportunity Marlborough wines could bring, large wine companies Nestled under the southern foothills of Marlborough’s Wairau Valley, New Zealand, Clos Henri is the wine estate meticulously established and organically farmed by the famous Sancerre wine growing family of Henri Bourgeois (Loire Valley, France). In the late 1980’s, the family had the thirst to embark in a worldwide search for a new slice of terroir, similar to their own in Sancerre, where ultra-premium Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir could be grown. After a 12-year exploration, New Zealand revealed itself as the place to create a style of wines that would reflect the Bourgeois philosophy. In the year 2000 the family fell in love with the land and wines of Marlborough and in the same year, made the instinctive and emotive decision to purchase 98 hectares of sheep pasture. The Bourgeois family was fascinated by the youthfulness of the land, unlike in France where the ground has been worked for centuries. The New Zealand vineyard of the Bourgeois family was christened ‘Clos Henri’, pronounced “Klo Enrie” . ‘Clos’ is a French word representing an ancient custom of enclosing a unique vineyard or precious garden, traditionally with a stone wall. The name ‘Henri’ was chosen in respect of Henri Bourgeois and his long family commitment to wine. Eighteen years on from its creation, Clos Henri is now a mature wine company. Of the original farm, 45 hectares are now planted in Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes (same varietals as in Sancerre). The rest of the farm has been conserved as grazing land and forestry enhancing biodiversity on the estate. Over the last decade, the Bourgeois family’s philosophy applied to the development of Built on traditional winemaking practices, Clos Henri Vineyard produces fine wines which meet today’s high standards, as we found out when we explored the history behind this innovative wine estate. Clos Henri Vineyard Best New Zealand Wine Estate 2018 have developed extensive areas of vineyards (mainly Sauvignon Blanc) with the goal of producing large amount of wines. While these large productions have offered visibility to New Zealand wines on the international markets, the down side is the negative effect on the wine quality and the image of our wine region. As a small premium wine producer, Clos Henri is committed to promote the greatness of the Marlborough terroir and demonstrate Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir can be some of the finest wines crafted around the world so long as we care for our land. Ultimately, wine market domestically and internationally is incredibly competitive. For boutique brands like Clos Henri, it is vital to have a vision and a true story that tells and reflects the style of their wines. It is also in constant evolution with consumers’ taste changing, bringing different desires and modes of consumption. As wine producer, it is a major challenge. To ensure its continued success, Clos Henri have planted its vineyard with the goal of nurturing each vine to make them live and produce grapes for at least 50 years as the team know old vines will make the finest wines. Combining this approach with innovation and adaptation will ensure the vineyard’s continued success. Company: Clos Henri Vineyard Contact: Cynthia Nolet Address: 639 State Highway 63, RD1, Blenheim 7271, Marlborough, New Zealand Phone: 0064 03 572 7923 Website: