The Muddy Water Wine story starts with Jane and Michael east who were one of the first to recognise the potential in the Waipara Valley for growing high quality grapes and planted their first vineyard in 1993. Originally planting several varieties to see what worked, they took the approach that if it didn’t thrive, it was pulled up and what was left was meticulously nurtured to produce the highest quality fruit. The vines are un-grafted and planted on their own roots which is a very rare thing to see and much of their wine today is still produced from those original wines.
In 2011 Jane and Michael retired, handing over the reigns to the Thomas Family who have uncompromisingly stuck to the original philosophy set out by Jane and Michael of minimal intervention, crafting wines that are individual expressions of the site and vintage. The entire estate still only covers 12 hectares made up of 6 individual blocks, interspersed with olive groves and a natural spring that are tended using fully organic practices, the winery being the first in Canterbury to become certified organic.
The name Muddy Water is the literal translation of Waipara, and their ethos is to allow the wines to reflect this unique terroir. The soils are limestone washed, similar to those found in Burgundy and ideal for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and the vineyards consist of flatter ground leading to north facing slopes, with warm summers, cool evening and long autumns allowing the grapes to fully ripen developing great levels of complexity. The winery was hand built using straw bales and lies just a few hundred metres from the vines. They don’t manipulate the wines in any way, use pesticides or herbicides, everything is done with a hands on approach, walking through the vineyards allowing them to be completely in tune with the soils, the vines and the grapes. Wild yeast found occurring natural in the vineyards are used for fermentation and the wine are bottled unfined and unfiltered to allow the unadulterated expression of the grapes and terroir to shine through.