The island has ideal conditions for cool climate winemaking, with its warm summers, lean soils, and lengthy, mild autumns. The soils are predominantly clay, rich in iron and manganese oxides, and overlays ancient weathered rock. Wind and soil create a low vigour growing environment where grape vines struggle and produce small but concentrated yields of ripe fruit with intense flavours.
The surrounding warm sea currents boost the temperature of the island by up to 2 degrees centigrade, while the afternoon sea breezes reduce the effects of excessive heat buildup, giving Waiheke Island one of the world's lowest diurnal temperature ranges for growing winegrapes. Waiheke's warm days (up to 32 degrees C) and mild nights maintain the amount and duration of temperature required to respire away both malic acid and methoxypyrazine.
The island also has a few other features that help give Obsidian's wines an individual stamp. The steep slopes on which our vines are planted concentrate the heat of the sun, maximise ripeness and promote drainage.
Terroir & Place
Vines are planted in a complex array of aspects, including
- Block 1 (NW)
- The Ridge (NE)
- The North Face (NE)
- The Saddle (a knoll with aspects from NE – SW)
- All vines are on steep slopes ranging from 10 degrees to 35 degrees – no flat areas or south facing slopes
- An amphitheatre-like valley with significant shelter given by the surrounding hills from the west, south and north.
Viticulture & Winemaking
- Unique row configuration of alternate narrow spacing allows greater vine density on steep slopes
- Reflective foil is used for premium late ripening varieties to give more even and intense heat and light from the veraison phase through until harvest
- Vine management is done by hand as is all harvesting.
- Michael Wood is the Vigneron – An ideal situation bringing together the growing and winemaking.
- Currently planted: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Montepulciano, Syrah, Tempranillo, Viognier, Chardonnay. Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are brought in from another site on Waiheke Island.