Our Philosophy

Fine Wine Needs Food and Time

Our assessment of the wines we produce is based on how they taste with food rather than on their own or alongside other wines. Accordingly, we rarely enter wine shows. Experience has shown us that fine wine needs considerable time in the bottle and cellar to show its qualities. Like many of the best things in life, it improves with time.

Our winemaking aims to produce wines that are built to last, emphasizing structure, texture and balance and avoiding the retention of residual sugar that produces more approachable young wines but often results in older wines that are broad and flabby. With the exception of dessert wines and Riesling, which requires a small amount of residual sugar to balance the low pH, our wines are bone dry and derive richness and concentration from low crops and optimal sunlight interception by the leaves and grapes.

We don’t just talk about cellaring wine. Nga Waka wines are released with at least six months bottle age and up to two years for Riesling, considerably later than industry norms. Significant volumes of each wine are also put aside for an even later aged release to ensure that customers can buy wine that has been properly matured and is likely to provide the best match for food.

In addition to time in the bottle, fine wine needs well-established vines. Our experience is that as vines mature, they produce wines that shift in style from a dominance of primary varietal characters towards more expression of structural and mineral characters and greater depth. With vine maturity, the character of the individual vineyard is more strongly expressed. Whenever we see this shift occurring we shall produce those wines under a single vineyard designation. Home Block Chardonnay is our first single vineyard wine and others will follow as our vineyards mature.


We do not believe that the enjoyment of fine wine with food can be predicted or assessed by tasting a line-up of wines side by side and giving them a numbered score. We are more interested in the endorsement we receive for our long-term performance from wine-writers who have assessed our wines in youth and maturity over many years.

In his reference work, A Wine Atlas of New Zealand, Michael Cooper summarises Nga Waka wines as “typically immaculate, with a voluminous fragrance and fresh, deep, lingering flavours. These are consistently classy wines.” We also view our presence on the wine lists of many of New Zealand’s finest restaurants as solid endorsement of our wine’s reputation for quality and consistency.

Nga Waka wines are available nationally at fine wine outlets and through our online store.

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Nga Waka, 41 New York Street West, Martinborough | PO Box 128, Kitchener Street, Martinborough.
Phone/Fax 0064 6 306 9832 | Email: ngawaka@ngawaka.co.nz | google map

© 2020 Canoe Wines Limited Partnership, t.a. Nga Waka Wines | Terms and conditions | Off Licence #44/OFF/015/2019