Tohu Whenua Series

14 Sep 2019

Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua - As people disappear from sight, the land remains

Tūrangawaewae is one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts. It literally means standing place (tūranga) and feet (waewae); and is often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel empowered and connected. They are our foundation, our place in the world, our home.

“Our Whenua Single Vineyard wines are a gift from the land, our tūrangawaewae, the place where we stand. Each wine is an expression of the uniqueness of our standing place and our enduring connection to the land. Te Tauihu, the top of New Zealand’s South Island, is where we stand tallest, arms outstretched from west to east. "

River at Tohu Whenua
Whenua Awa [river lands] vineyard

Each varietal within the Whenua series carries the name of the vineyard it originates from – either Whenua Awa, in Upper Awatere Valley, Marlborough or Whenua Matua in Upper Moutere, Nelson.

“As kaitiaki, guardians of our lands, we have spent a lot of time on our vineyards, understanding and nurturing each of the blocks. We’re using this intimate knowledge of the land to create premium single vineyard wines,” Bruce Taylor, Tohu chief winemaker says. “The two vineyards have very different characteristics and therefore produce very distinct flavours in the wines. The Tohu Whenua wines are made from select parcels of land that represent the true characteristics of the land and can be traced to the individual blocks where the grapes are sourced from,” Mr Taylor says.

“We are respectful of the fruit in the vineyard and are focused on capturing their unique characteristics and taking those flavours straight to the bottle with minimal interference. We have great vineyards and we just want that to come through in the wine,” Mr Taylor says.

“The grapes for the Whenua series are carefully selected from individual blocks chosen for a harmonious match between the varietal, the soil, the climate, altitude and topography,” Mr Taylor says. “From there, the winemaking style is traditional and artisanal, allowing the distinctive characteristics of the grapes and the terroir to speak for themselves.”

Of the 120 hectares that make up Whenua Matua and Whenau Awa, 74 hectares are cared for through the planting of native vegetation. 10,000 seedlings have tripled in natural reproduction, new water ways have attracted indigenous wild life, and abundant biodiversity is contributing to our thriving vines and wines.

Driveway of Tohu Whenua
Whenua Matua [significant lands] vineyard

“This is a special release for us and follows on from our celebration last year of 20 years since we launched the world’s first Māori-owned wine company. The Whenua series is a gift from our land. Each wine in the series is an expression of the uniqueness of our tūranagawaewae, our standing place, and our connection to the land,” Rachel Taulelei, Kono CEO says.

“The Tohu Whenua series is not only about showcasing excellent wine, it is also about sharing our story, our journey and our values. We have a rich history that has defined the Tohu purpose and vision. We have strong values – including kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga and rangatiritanga– which we hold as guiding principles in our everyday work, whether you are based at the winery, vineyards or in the sales and marketing team,” Ms Taulelei says.

“Manaakitanga is guiding how we are introducing Tohu Whenua to our trade partners. Our sales team are holding personalised tasting sessions all over Aotearoa. They’ll be sharing the stories of the people and the land behind the wine.”

There are eight wines available in the series ranging from Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling Albariño and Pinot Blanc.


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