On a recent trip to Wairarapa, I heard about a few ‘new’ labels, but didn’t really have time to arrange times to meet with everyone… so, in lieu of putting off telling you about these newcomers until I can find the time to get down and chat to them, I’ve sent off some Q&As, and – here’s one from Simone and Lucie at Equilibrium Makers. Read on…
How did Equilibrium Makers come about – what’s the background to it being founded? Equilibrium: “a state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced.”
Equilibrium Makers come from the balance we have found here in Martinborough/New Zealand. Simone is Italian and I’m French (Lucie), we are constantly perfecting the equation between the 3 countries. It also represents the approach of Simone in the winemaking, the balance between the natural order and the intervention of the winemaker.
How do you approach selling your brand (and wine) as a new label – how will you get people to try a wine that’s new and they’ve not heard of ? We want to capitalise on the fact that we are making wine as we always been doing for centuries based on studies and knowledge (Simone is a viticulture and oenology graduate of Umberto I – a school in Piedmont, Italy) Our wines are clean and interesting as we aim to produce the best fruits from hard work and no chemicals.
Is there anything unique about the wines you’ll be producing? The passion we put in, the hard work and the effort to produce the best wine.
Can you tell us a bit about your winemaking style? Can we expect wild ferments? Skin contact? Natural wines? Sulphur? Oak influences.. Traditional wine, keep it simple with studies behind each decision taken. Pinot Noir is wild ferments. Around 20% of the Chardonnay is skin contact which add more complexity and ripeness to the wine.
Yes we use as little sulphur as we can. We grow organically some of the best fruit on Te Muna Road. Healthy vines produce healthy grapes. This is one of our ways to reduce the use of sulphur.
Do you think of winemaking as Scientific or Artistic? Or is one of you one of each kind to complement the other? Scientific comes from the growing and the winemaking. Artistic in the marketing from label, story telling and tasting note.
Yes they are complementary; you can’t grow grapes and make wine with no scientific knowledge. For us the passion in winemaking and growing is part of the artistic side. You have to be passionate and creative to dream and think of the best wine. You need to be a scientific to be able to express your style in a bottle of wine.
What’s the best thing about making wine? What gives you joy from that? The satisfaction of seeing the grapes coming to life, and then a bottle of wine after a year’s hard work in the vineyard. To see your family and friends enjoying the wines. Our wines shared at a family dinner, a moment people share together and can remember, and remember your wines.
Is there a moment in the winemaking year where you just ‘get a feeling’ for what’s going on / going to happen? Around Christmas time, at the flowering season you can feel if the year will be promising or not. Frost / bad weather you have the feeling its coming and have to be prepared. Its up to us to take the good decision and get on action.
Do you have your own vineyards? Winery? Plans for a Cellar Door? We don’t own the vineyard, unfortunately. Simone has been managing the vineyard since 2013 for another label (Pond Paddock). We source our fruits from this vineyard.
What trends have you noticed? What do think is next for New Zealand wines? Do you have specific plans? You must do a rosé – it’s the rules…We have noticed that the “natural wine” trend of New Zealand is sometimes very extreme. Some wines are so faulty, but because of the trend they are seen as interesting and “natural” – whereas they are just so stinky and reductive.
For us, wine is by nature natural. Making wines with no fining/addition or minimum intervention requires more knowledge, skills, hard work and dexterity. This what we do. Keep making good wine and expand the quantity. Grow different and undiscovered varieties from Italy than are suited to the climate and the soil of Te Muna.
Haha yes rosé is on the way!
Is there someone you would love to try your wines, and why? Simone’s old school mates. They are all running family winery businesses in Italy. Particularly because they grow different varieties than Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
How is being in New Zealand at the moment? Do you miss the freedom to travel beyond our borders? Of course we miss travelling. At this time of the year we usually plan our trip to visit our family and friends, and reload our batteries – we need it. For the second consecutive year we can’t, so it’s an opportunity for us to discover more of New Zealand. We went skiing last year – Simone hadn’t skiied for 7 years as he had been following the Summer…
It is also a good time to focus on our brand. Plan the work – work the plan.
What other New Zealand wines do you rate, or benchmark yourselves against? Small, boutique wineries, handcrafted wines, organic growers.
And, what under-rated wines do you know of from your overseas experience that New Zealanders should know more about? Wines from Campania Napoli, from Cantina Matrone on the Vesuvio.
The real Jura wines, Savagnin, Vin Jaune, Arbois, Macvin, Trousseau.