Little Wing Vineyard
Little Wing is Gillian MacLachlan and her husband, Gareth MacLachlan. After graduating with Viticulture and Enology degrees in California and New Zealand, respectively, they met while interning on the Sonoma Coast and spent the next few years working in wine regions in France, Germany, Australia, NZ and California.
They were always in love with Syrah, but became passionate about it, along with Marsanne, after working in the Northern Rhone in 2010. They continued to work and travel, and landed in Marlborough in 2011 where they stayed for a few years working and growing their family - Gareth managing the organic vineyards at Giesen and Gillian winemaking for a handful of boutique clients at Sugar Loaf Wines.
In 2014 the opportunity came along to purchase a nearly abandoned oceanfront vineyard on scenic Waiheke Island. They got to work resurrecting the property, reviving what was salvageable and re-planting new areas. This gave them the chance to focus on their passion of Syrah and Marsanne and thoughtfully plant the vineyard in a way that could achieve the type of wine that they wanted to make. This meant things like high density planting (5,500 - 6,666 vines/ha), variety and rootstock selection based on the slope and aspect, and multiple clones to aid in complexity.
The vineyard is a natural bowl shape with very steep slopes of heavy clay and a multitude of different aspectsand sun exposures. It is also heavily influenced by the ocean. In order to respect this unique site, the vines are all hand-worked and managed organically (though they’re not certified at this stage).
They also make the wine with as little intervention and interference as possible - no yeast, sugar, acid,enzymes or other fining agents are used. They are bottled with minimal sulphur and utilise filtration onlywhen necessary. They love to use whole bunch fermentation in their Syrah and also this year used some skin- fermented Marsanne in the blend. Gillian and Gareth’s ultimate goal is to let the grapes, vintage and siteexpress themselves in the finished wine.