Dashwood wines bring the luscious, clean fruit characters of the Wairau Valley into harmony with the flinty, or mineral, characters of the Awatere (resulting from the comparatively cooler but drier temperatures and slightly less fertile soils). Great wine is so much more than just fermented grape juice; it is an alchemy in which unique terroir and skilled winemaking unite. Dashwood creates wines that are true reflections of New Zealand’s Marlborough region. They are as cool as the winds that whip through our valleys each day and as imposing as the towering mountains that frame the vineyards. Marlborough is a special place for wine. Perhaps it’s our cloudless skies or mild temperatures or well-drained soils. It could be Dashwood’s long growing season or sustainably-farmed vineyards. Whatever the reason, the result is wines that are marked by piercingly vibrant fruit flavors and lively acidity.
The floral symbol on the label is the Pohutukawa, a Maori word meaning “drenched with mist”. It is an evergreen tree known as the unofficial New Zealand “Christmas tree” due to its bright red blooms that emerge every December.
Dashwood wines have been around for more than 20 years now, the first vintage being way back in 1989, striving to minimize or eliminate any activities that are wasteful or harmful to the environment so that future generations can continue to enjoy the extraordinary landscape. Along the way Dashwood has collected Trophies and Gold Medals, but what they are most proud of is the fact that Dashwood has built a reputation for offering great value wines that are packed full of flavor. Enjoy Dashwood wine with friends or paired with your favorite food.
At Dashwood, selected grapes are handpicked; this ensures that only the best fruit makes it into the bottle. The vineyards are trained on the “vertical shoot positioning” trellis. This form of trellising suits our growing conditions: it also makes it easier if they have to manipulate the canopy due to seasonal growing conditions. The intrinsic value characters of the Awatere valley are perfect for the production of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Stu Marfell grew up on a 2,000-acre farm a few miles from Dashwood in Marlborough. “There were always things to be done on the farm from hand carting hay to drenching and shearing sheep.” When not drenching and shearing sheep, Stu and his three brothers could be found swimming and fishing in the Awatere River.
“Wine was only for special occasions, but good food was always on the menu. We were very lucky to spend holidays down at the Marlborough Sounds where we would enjoy scallops, mussels, blue cod, butterfish, moki and other seafood treats all gathered by my father and cooked expertly by my mother.”
In 2003, after earning his degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand, Stu landed the assistant winemaker’s position at Dashwood. He became winemaker in 2007. “Marlborough is a stunning place. We have a dry, windy, temperate climate with beautiful autumns. Our cool nights help retain acid and flavor which is so important for Sauvignon Blanc.” Stu met his wife Emily through the Wairau Rowing Club in Marlborough. Both are exercise and outdoor fanatics and travel junkies. Stu also plays a mean ukulele.