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Matahiwi off the market

Matahiwi Estate manager Karina Southey and head winemaker Miles Dinneen. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
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Matahiwi Estate is no longer on the market, with Wairarapa MP Alastair Scott’s decision to step away from the world of politics renewing his enthusiasm for sustainable practices at the Masterton winery.

Scott announced he was selling the winery in late 2018, but with more time on his hands in the near future, he was looking forward to relooking at the business.

“Now that I know I’m leaving it’s a good opportunity to revisit the business and what we want to work on.”

It was just a bare block of dairy land when Scott bought the property in 1997.

Covering more than 75-hectares it is now known for producing sauvignon blanc and pinot noir grape varieties in line with Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand’s criteria.

As part of their commitment to sustainability, 1400 natives have been planted along a walkway on the northern side of the vineyard with help from Greater Wellington Regional Council.

“We’ve always had sustainability in mind […] but I haven’t had the time to focus on that,” Scott said. “When you’re in Parliament you get stretched quite thin.”

The vineyard also welcomed a few new additions including ducks, chickens and two kunekune pigs, George Kune and Brad Pig.

“One of the things is making great value wine but having a bit of fun with it and there’s nothing funnier than a couple of kunekune pigs wandering around.”

Vineyard manager Karina Southey said the pigs brought a lot of “fun and laughter”.

In addition to entertaining vineyard staff and neighbours, the animals and native plantings do serve a purpose, helping improve biodiversity and reducing pest animals as part of the vineyard’s commitment to Predator Free 2050.

The native plantings along the walkway add more pollinators and yeasts to the vineyard, she said.

She said native bird species weren’t interested in grapes, so she wasn’t worried about them impacting the wine growing operation.

The walkway had also proved popular with Loopline residents and neighbours.

Head winemaker Miles Dinneen said many people walked along the vineyard during lockdown.

“The planting is all for giving something back to the community,” he said. “Having a walkway will help people to connect with the vineyard as they walk and cycle alongside it.”

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