On the outskirts of Gisborne, in the heart of winegrowing country, Spade Oak Vineyard basks in the sunlit central valley known locally as “the flats.” Owned by Steve and Eileen Voysey, Spade Oak rests on fertile land that has produced grapes for generations, but the Voyseys share a brand new vision – one that’s all about unlocking the region’s potential and, at the same time, creating wines of quality from their brave and eclectic selection of new and classic varieties. “The goal is to capture our soils, sunshine, passion and labour,” says Eileen Voysey, “and we want to carry those qualities through from the vineyard to the finished wine.”

The story of how these wines came to be created actually begins more than 20 years ago, down in Marlborough, where Steve was based as a young winemaker with Montana, the country’s largest wine producer (after several ownership changes, the company became part of Pernod Ricard). Learning that he had just been promoted to the position of Gisborne winemaker, Steve told Eileen about the change while she was in the Blenheim hospital having their second child – and the news went over about as well as might be expected. Nevertheless, the couple decided they’d “give it three years” – and have never left.

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