While traveling through New Zealand in 1987, Konrad Hengstler discovered Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and was immediately attracted to this outstanding wine
From that point, the decision to move to Marlborough and become involved in the wine industry was an easy one. Konrad originally migrated from Germany to Australia, where for twenty years he oversaw the establishment and development, of a large German company's subsidiaries within the Australasia region. Eventually, Konrad felt a calling which inspired him to labour long and hard at the development of his own micro winery in the scenic environs of the Marlborough wine growing district. High above the plains of Marlborough, one can see Mount Fishtail’s peak standing as a sentinel looking over the many quality vineyards. This double peaked mountain is an inspiring omen and became the name of the estate vineyard at Foxes Island in the Wairau Valley.
Marlborough has gained world recognition for its Sauvignon Blanc grown on alluvial soils. Extensive sunshine hours (over 2,500 hours per annum) and cool nights are the perfect background for this crisp, clean wine with ripe tropical overtones, so duly representative of the Marlborough region.
The first 10 hectares were planted in 1996 with Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, a variety that Sigrun felt very enthusiastic about, due to the suitable terrior of the Waihopai Valley. Since then the plantings have been extended to 20 hectares and include Pinot Noir, the ideal red grape to suit the diurnal climate of the Waihopai Valley.
The cooler Waihopai Valley site produces grapes with dominant flavours and acid content. While the warmer Wairau Valley vineyard produces full bodied wines with good alcohol and ripening potential. After fermentation, the wines are blended to create the classic and consistent Mount Fishtail range.
To maintain the ongoing standard of high quality, the company participates in numerous international wine competitions all around the world where all varieties over all vintages have been recognized with awards and multi medals. Some of the awards they’ve earned include Runner-up for Best New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Best New Zealand Dessert Wine at the Air NZ Challenge as well as Wine Spectator Top Wines category.
The Estate's Waihopai and Wairau valley blocks can typically be put into the category of cool climate vineyards. Konrad selects fruit from the winery's separate sites and blends them into cuvees that achieve an optimum balance between rich, ripe flavors and fresh acidity. In early spring, the Waihopai Valley vineyard is exposed to frost, therefore frost protection through an overhead sprinkling system has been installed. Reduced spray programs and focus on traditional techniques, such as shoot thinning and leaf and fruit plucking, are evidence of the company’s commitment to vineyard controlled quality. Every year, after fermentation, wines from the two distinctly different sites are used for the range of wines, giving the family an opportunity to maintain the same high quality and consistent flavours year after year.
Quality is the absolute focus of Konrad and it starts in the vineyard where no corners are cut, and continues in the winery where ‘handcrafting’ is the applied standard. Being a family-run business, control over quality is truly hands-on. Konrad’s philosophy…“the best fertilizer is the foot of the farmer!” Through every day personal involvement, a focus on quality, and a commitment to reasonable pricing, the result is simple, to make the finest wines possible.