Te Rata Natural Wine by Free Range Wines

Winemaker Justin Oliver
Winemaker Justin Oliver

Free Range Wines was founded from our passion for making delicious Natural Wines that are true to a certain place – vineyard, and a particular time – the vintage . Our wines are crafted in small batches from carefully selected organic vineyards, grown in the best regions of New Zealand.

Te Rata – Natural wines

We’re all about Natural Winemaking. This means minimal chemical and mechanical manipulations during the winemaking process. We use wild fermentations, traditional basket pressing, low or no added preservatives, liberal lees contact, extended pre-release maturation. Our preference is for wine stored in & served from kegs – it requires less processing and preservatives, retains life & vibrancy of flavour, keeps better once tapped and saves on the use of huge amounts of packaging. All our wines are Vegan- friendly, no animal products are used in any part of the process. To get more in depth information about natural wine making, visit jennyandfrancois.com

Preservative free

Nobody likes preservatives, but almost every wine on the shelf contains them. We’ve gone out on a winemaking limb to keep our wines preservative free, or at least use the absolute minimum. The result is wine with undeniable liveliness and uncommon vibrancy of flavor.

In order to keep our wines fresh and preservative free we only bottle/keg in small batches. Vineyards

Vineyards of Current Vintages

Red Ridge – Matakana

Lat: 36 South
Long: 174 East.
Planted: 2003/2004 on conventional VSP trellis. Cane pruned.
Varieties: Merlot 40% Cabernet Franc 60%

Planted in a classic mix of St. Emillion Bordeaux varietals, this North facing vineyard enjoys spectacular views of Omaha Bay out to Little Barrier Island. Free Range wines manages this vineyard. Work focuses on the vines canopy and crop levels, with the density of shoots, bunches and leaves carefully controlled. This ensures small crops of grapes that have extreme flavour concentration. Currently the Merlot is being replanted with Malbec.

MerryFields Vineyard – Matakana

Lat: 36 South
Long: 174 East
Planted: Syrah 2003, Pinot Gris 2003 , on VSP trellis. Spur pruned.
Varieties: Syrah 40%, Pinot Gris 60%

A very sheltered site with good northerly slopes planted in Syrah and Pinot Gris on the flatter land. The Pinot Gris attains excellent ripeness early in the season, making very clean picking possible. Syrah is later to ripen but the good aspect and drainage of the site means extended hang times are possible prior to harvest. Managed by Te Rata.

Monarch Vineyards – Matakana

Lat:36 South

Long: 174 East
Planted: Merlot/Chardonnay 2000 , on VSP trellis. Spur pruned.
Varieties: Chardonnay40%, Merlot 60%

Merlot is notoriously difficult to grow in Matakana, with many original Merlot vineyards being lost and replanted with other varieties over the years. This unique vineyard consistently produces beautiful crops of Merlot, which means we can use it in our exceptional Bordeaux style red wine blends, Pet Nat Sparkling Rose, or our Still Rose.

The Chardonnay is also consistently early ripening meaning lovely clean picks of quality fruit. Careful management of crop levels are necessary in this vineyard to guarantee the concentration of flavour that Te Rata wines are known for.

Waimea Plains – Nelson

Lat: 41 South
Planted: 1996 on conventional VSP Trellis.
Varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris

Long sunshine hours and cool autumn nights of Nelson, combined with the free-draining alluvial soils create, ideal growing conditions for  aromatic white grape varieties. The vineyard is certified organic/bio dynamic by Bio Grow and Demeter respectively.