Situated in the north of New Zealand’s picturesque Hawkes Bay, is the Esk Valley Estate winery. The winery sources fruit from Hawkes Bay and Marlborough, as both regions consistently produce grapes of an extremely high quality.
Esk Valley is a boutique winery, but it is unique in that many of the techniques used to craft its award-winning wines are dictated by the winery itself. The old concrete vats, the layout of the buildings, and the absence of modern technology mean the winemakers at Esk Valley have had to make wine in a simple, honest, hands-on way. The result of this passion and labour intensive approach is a range of elegant, intensely flavoured wines that are extremely food friendly.
As Chief Winemaker, Gordon Russell has been at the heart of the winery since 1993 and has developed a range of classic wines that have built up a very loyal following over the years.
Born in New Plymouth, New Zealand, Gordon’s desire to travel took him to England and Europe for three years after university. He had always been interested in different flavours and trying new food so during his time abroad he naturally also developed an appreciation for fine wine.
In 1986 Gordon returned to New Zealand, just when the wine styles for which New Zealand has become highly regarded were beginning to emerge. Gordon was appointed as Esk Valley winemaker in 1993, after working for Villa Maria in Auckland as a cellar hand from 1987 and then as assistant winemaker to Grant Edmonds at Esk Valley from 1990.
Gordon strives to make wines that tell the story of the vineyards from which they came. Experience has taught him that with attention to detail in vineyard, the winemaking process becomes simple and a hands off affair. Esk Valley’s aim is to produce a natural style of wine utilising wild yeast and long term lees ageing. These are modern styles of wine made in a hand crafted manner.
For more information about Esk Valley, you can visit their website or why not try their wines (see featured wines below).