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Vineyard in prime of its life

By Chelsea Boyle

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Poppies Martinborough is a well-loved treasure tucked away on Puruatanga Rd that has recently expanded to 26 acres and added Spanish Tempranillo vines.

Owners Poppy and Shayne Hammond have always relied on word of mouth to bring wine lovers to the front door, and recently found that reach stretched internationally, finding themselves featured in a Danish newspaper.

Outdoor eating at Poppies Martinborough. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE
Outdoor eating at Poppies Martinborough. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE

Mr Hammond said he always believed that if the wine was good, people would talk about it.

Mrs Hammond had her first taste of Martinborough as a budding winemaker on work experience and was blown away by what was on offer.

A huge amount of varieties could be grown here, she said.

“I fell in love with it . . . it punched above its weight.”

Mr Hammond started seeking out old derelict vineyards for the two to take over, choosing to forgo irrigation as a part of the unique way he manages the vines.

The couple produce 3000 cases every year, with a growth point of 3500.

Although they sell out every year, they are not tempted to the stock the cellar any higher.

Another outdoor eating option at Poppies Martinborough. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE

“That’s the limit. There’s a point where I can’t keep the standard up. We only put into the bottle what we love to drink.”

By adding to their acreage, they have taken over some vines from Mark and Susan Haythornthwaite, who are still operating in their own right but have always been incredibly supportive of the Hammonds.

Mrs Hammond’s golden rule of making good wine is to never make a “fashionable wine” but to stay true to what the vines naturally offer.

“The vines are aging, becoming more resilient and detailed,” she said.

Some of vines the couple own are 30 years old –  Mrs Hammond quipped that the vines were in their prime, just like she is.

Although the climate and weather played a key role in wine-making, Mr Hammond said he gave up worrying about the weather a long time ago.

A challenging season is when we show our craft, he said.

Poppies Martinborough is not sold in supermarkets, and is only available on site but can be couriered on request.

The couple want to keep it a “personal” experience and love meeting the customers.

“It gives people insight into what we do and how we do it,” Mr Hammond said.  “It’s more of an experience.”

They have 11 varieties on offer this year, two of which have already sold out.

 

Poppy and Shayne Hammond at a Poppies Martinborough wine tasting. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Poppy and Shayne Hammond sharing their love of wine at a Poppies Martinborough wine tasting. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

 

The main room is a popular venue for weddings. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE
The main room is a popular venue for weddings. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE

 

 

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