Ma Maison vineyard is situated near Dry River Road in Martinborough. When Edward bought the land back in 1993, he identified the silt loam over free-draining alluvial soils - combined with the Martinborough region’s relatively low rainfall (particularly in the all-important ripening and harvest months) and high sunshine hours, the conditions are ideal for pinot noir to flourish.
Ma Maison’s viticulturist Glenys Hanson has worked in vineyards in the Martinborough region since the 1970s, meaning she has a huge depth of knowledge to draw on in the management of the vineyard. Winemaker Wendy Potts has also worked in the area for many years, and is committed to showcasing Ma Maison vineyard’s unique terroir in the wines, employing a gentle, minimal interference approach.
The vines at Ma Maison are very intensely planted - something which is unusual in a commercial vineyard. The fruiting wire is low to the ground, meaning canopies are kept open to maximise sunlight exposure for the grapes.
Vines are low cropped (about 1 to 1.5 tonnes/acre) and cane pruned to the guyot system, with a maximum of eight to 10 buds laid per vine. During the growing season the vines are shoot thinned and later on excess fruit is removed. Yields are kept deliberately low to ensure the production of wines of the utmost quality.
The small team tastes the grapes carefully around harvest time to assess when the fruit should be picked. Fruit health and chemical analysis are also taken into account. As Edward says, “you have to have great quality fruit to make great wine”. Clones are typically harvested separately to ensure that optimum quality is achieved and if a clone does not reach a high enough standard then it is not picked that year.
In line with Ma Maison’s natural approach, no insecticides are used in the vineyard. Sulphur is the preferred control method and the gentlest option that is best for the grapes is always used.