A collaboration between Cloudy Bay alumni, enologist James Healy and founding viticulturalist Ivan Sutherland, Dog Point Vineyard was founded when James and Ivan left Cloudy Bay in 2003, having played an integral part in the evolution of the brand. They launched Dog Point Vineyard, which they continue to own and operate with their families, the following year.
Since its inception, the estate has produced wines of astounding quality and complexity, hand-crafted from old-vine fruit, some from plantings dating back to the 1970s. The largest Biogro-certified vineyard in New Zealand, meticulous vineyard practices include low cropping grapes and hand-harvesting. Cover crops such as buckwheat and phacelia are sown between the vines to encourage beneficial insects for the natural control of insect pests. Integral to the Dog Point organic philosophy is biodiversity – a large area of the estate is devoted to pasture, with ponds and extensive native plantings. An authentic working farm, there are also large vegetable gardens and orchards with beehives. During the winter months, 2,500 sheep and 25 steers are brought onto the property to control grass and weed growth.
The winemaking is non-interventionist, with minimal racking and gentle handling. Bottling is done without fining and with little filtration. Highly sought-after and internationally regarded, the resulting wines are intense and complex with racy natural acidity and ripe, full-fruit flavour.