The winemaking at Mahana is far from conventional. There is not so much an attitude of experimentation but rather an exciting air of exploration in the winery. These are wines that show no fear of falling off the edge of the world but rather sail bravely into the horizon searching for treasure and adventure. This adventurous spirit fits beautifully with the spectacular four level gravity flow design of the winery building which is as forward thinking as the winemaking inside. It is a winery custom built to explore!
The winery is continually challenging preconceived ideas as to what ‘normal’ is and where boundaries are. Mahana is at the forefront of the advance guard of exciting new producers in New Zealand who are rejecting the safe and ultra conservative winemaking conventions prevalent throughout the country in order to make wines that are dynamic and thought provoking. These are wines that dare to be different. They are idealistic to their very core. There is an ‘embracing’ of difference at Mahana as it is seen as being a fundamental prerequisite to quality, authenticity and the laws of terroir.
In the winery there is a constant quest to find new and different textures and flavours that are limited only by the season, soil and the imagination and direction of the winemaking. There is a need to continually pursue, improve on and perfect what has been newly discovered. Whereas many producers cling to the ‘Old World’ to legitimise and give blind meaning to their lack of direction these wines boldly go forward to find unique flavours and aromas in an attempt to try and reflect their place in a ‘New World’. Why recreate what already exists? To this end ‘alternative’ white winemaking that explores and utilises skin fermentation, ‘carbo-blanc’ winemaking, Italian coopered Acacia timber puncheons, French coopered Oak bespoke ‘Glovemeister-cigars’, extended aging on lees and ‘natural’ sulphite free maturation are all practices that sit easily and comfortably within the Mahana winery walls…!
The adventurous spirit of winemaking is no different when applied to the reds but does differ in its ultra-traditional way of making wine that requires very little input or winemaker intervention. 100% whole bunch winemaking with no extraneous additions are the foundation blocks used to explore the combination of Mahana’s yellow ultic soil, season and the enigmatic pinot noir variety. With Mahana’s pinot noir winemaking we see the courage to go back in time in order to go forward. There is a rejection of many ‘standard’ practices that are deemed to distort and blur the truth. There is little in the way of plunging or pumping over for extraction, just the occasional pigeage with the winemaker’s feet to release sugar to hungry indigenous yeasts. These wines speak first and foremost of place. They are made without regard for fashion, trend or favour. They are simply made the way they should be made. These wines have a kind of truth and purity to them and, in a way, there is an unfettered simplicity to them as well. These are wines of passion, confidence and purpose. These wines do not walk…they stride!