Collection: Akitu

We jumped at the chance to visit Andrew Donaldson at his stunning vineyard on the slopes of Mt Barker, Wānaka. Andrew's vineyard came about after careful and considered site selection; Pinot Noir, his favourite grape was the goal here. 6 Pinot Noir clones were chosen, with each clone planted in the optimal position on the gorgeous 11.8ha vineyard site.

Whilst our kids swam in the pool we tasted new vintage A1 and A2 Pinot Noirs, as well as the delicious Pinot Noir Blanc, a Blanc de Noirs wine made from clone 777 Pinot Noir that is whole bunch pressed and whisked off its skins quickly. Extended lees contact builds texture and adds flavours of brioche to the blend. Imagine a summer fruit palate of grapefruit, nectarine and peach, alongside a hint of talc, almond and brioche - all brought together with bright Pinot Noir acidity. 

Andrew grew up in Wānaka, Central Otago. His grandfather bought a house there in 1959 – in what was a stunning but remote location . A few decades later Andrew bought the farm back. The name Akitu is an ancient Maori term for Apex or Summit – and the logo depicts the name reflected in the outline of the alps overlooking the vineyard.

Established in 2001 and set in the heart of Central Otago’s Upper Clutha basin, Akitu’s 12-hectare vineyard sits alone at 380 metres above sea level on a stunning north facing slope. Set just minutes from Lake Wānaka the semi-continental climate, with high sunshine hours, hot summers and dry autumns help to create wines of amazing fruit purity and complexity. The vineyard is entirely dedicated to Pinot Noir, block planted in 6 sections on 250 million year old schist soils; Blocks A and B were planted in 2002 with the remainder the following year. There are approximately 41,000 vines of 6 carefully selected clones of Pinot Noir planted across the vineyard according to soil and aspect. Exceptionally, the first wines were produced in 2012 – after allowing the vines time to develop and settle.

Akitu won the IWC World Wine Awards Sustainability Award twice in three years, with the A1 winning NZ Pinot Noir of the Year and NZ Open Red of the Year in 2018. Both the A1 and A2 were awarded 96 pts and gold medals – in total 8 gold medals across three years.

To find out more about Akitu you can visit their website here