Pyramid Valley and Lowburn Ferry from Aotearoa Fine Wine Estates


Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine Estates is the collaboration of Steve Smith MW and Brian Sheth, established last year, based on making wines from great parcels of fruit from exceptional vineyards. This philosophy was the heart of the development of the ‘Smith and Sheth’ ‘CRU’ wines, which I reviewed last month (click here to see my reviews). The first release of these wines included a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, three Hawke’s Bay Chardonnays and a Gimblett Gravels Syrah. The company has also developed their own vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels.

The scope of the company grew with the realisation they could purchase outstanding vineyards and estates with a proven track record of individuality and quality, and the first two estates to come under the Aotearoa Fine Wine Estates umbrella are Pyramid Valley in North Canterbury, and Lowburn Ferry in Central Otago. Pyramid Valley was created by Mike and Claudia Weersing who developed to operation to espouse biodynamics and the crafting of very small quantities of site and terroir specific Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from their home property in the Wakari Valley, and individual bottlings based on fruit from their grower friends and liasons.

Lowburn Ferry was established in 2000 by Roger and Jean Gibson who established a 4 ha Pinot Noir vineyard on a north-facing terrace at Lowburn, near Cromwell. From the first vintage in 2003, they experienced success, and the wines continue to win top awards at wine shows. The wines from these two estates warranted Smith and Sheth’s attention, and subsequent purchase last year.

Here, I review a selection of wines from Pyramid Valley and Lowburn Ferry, now under the ownership of Aotearoa Fine Wine Estates. The wines have been made by Mike Weersing and Pete Bartle. For availability, contact Aotearoa Fine Wine Estates general manager Michael Henley at email: [email protected]


  • Pyramid Valley ‘Growers Collection’ ‘Hutchison Family Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc 2015
  • Pyramid Valley ‘Growers Collection’ ‘Sutherland-Till Vineyard’ Marlborough Chardonnay 2016
  • Pyramid Valley ‘Growers Collection’ ‘Calrossie Vineyard’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016
  • Lowburn Ferry ‘Home Block’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
  • Lowburn Ferry ‘The Ferryman’ ‘Reserve’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015

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