Cheviot Hills – North Canterbury
Cheviot Hills is a region of North Canterbury between the Waiau and Hurunui rivers, 100km north of Christchurch on State Highway 1 on the way to Kaikoura. The closest established wine region is Waipara to the south, while the next wine region to the north is the world famous Marlborough.
The vineyards are located on interlaced series of terraced tablelands just south of the braided Waiau River, positioned on north-facing slopes to catch optimum sun. The vineyard terraces consist of a mudstone foundation covered by alluvial gravels with silt loam Phoebe soils on top. The remarkably uniform topsoil means we achieve an even growth pattern and fruit ripeness across the vineyard. The temperature here is generally cool, with high peaks in summer. This gives us ample heat (1125 Growing Degree Days) to ripen the grapes. With rainfall of 700-800mm, irrigation should become unnecessary as the vines mature.
Mt Beautiful wines were created by renowned US-based academic Dr. David Teece and his wife Leigh. The desire to invest in his homeland of New Zealand, combined with a passion to create something truly distinctive, led to a typically bold response from David when Leigh suggested starting a vineyard.
In 2004, they planted the first vines on our property’s interlaced series of terraced tablelands just south of the braided Waiau River. The development of our Mt Beautiful vineyard was purposely managed in harmony with the topography. Blocks of vines are planted on the terraces interspersed with trees along the tops of the terraces for shelter. The steeper gullies were also brought into production
The Teeces brought together a team of experts and empowered them to search out a new region capable of producing premium wines. Following extensive exploration, they chose Cheviot Hills, this area has never been home to a significant vineyard … until our team saw its potential.
Sam Weaver, winemaker
Sam Weaver is one of the most broadly experienced wine professionals in New Zealand. He has worked in the wine business for 30 years, covering every aspect from commercial and production to the technical. British born Sam qualified with a degree in microbiology from London University and subsequently worked in the UK wine trade for 10 years, becoming managing director of London wine merchant La Reserve.
In 1988, Sam moved to New Zealand with his family to become a winemaker, while making use of his commercial experience. Since then, Sam has made wine in five different countries, graduating to consultancy work with some of New Zealand’s leading wine companies. In 1997, he started his own label, Churton, which is distributed worldwide.
Sam joined the Teece Family Vineyards team early on as consultant winemaker for the Mt Beautiful wines.