A gift from the land

Tohu Wines’ artisan Tohu Whenua series celebrates deep connection to the whenua (land), and showcases the stories of the whenua where the grapes are grown.

Words Lara Wyatt

Kono is a Māori-owned food and beverage business and home to Tohu Wines. The Tohu Whenua series of wine celebrates connection with the land.

“As kaitiaki, guardians of our lands, we have spent a lot of time on our vineyards, understanding and nurturing each of the blocks. We’re using this intimate knowledge of the land to create premium single vineyard wines,” Bruce Taylor, Tohu chief winemaker says. 

The Tohu Whenua series of wine is grown on two vineyards, each series labelled accordingly. Wines originating from Whenua Awa in Upper Awatere Valley, Marlborough carry the name Whenua Awa, and wines from Whenua Matua in Upper Moutere, Nelson carry the name Whenua Matua.

“The two vineyards have very different characteristics and therefore produce very distinct flavours in the wines. The Tohu Whenua wines are made from select parcels of land that represent the true characteristics of the land and can be traced to the individual blocks where the grapes are sourced from,” Taylor says.

Rachel Taulelei, Kono CEO, explains that the Tohu Whenua series is about sharing their story, their journey and their values. 

“We have a rich history that has defined the Tohu purpose and vision. We have strong values – including kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga and rangatiratanga – which we hold as guiding principles in our everyday work … ” Taulelei says.

The two vineyards

Whenua Awa

Whenua Awa acknowledges the Awatere River that flows along the west boundary of the vineyard. Sitting at 230 metres above sea level, the vineyard’s climate is cool, winds are strong, rivers are powerful and frosts are harsh. Whenua Awa is home to Tohu Wines’ award-winning single vineyard sauvignon blanc and single vineyard pinot noir.

Whenua Matua

Whenua Matua means ‘significant land’, with the name acknowledging the lands of ancestors and heritage. Located in the Upper Moutere Hills, Whenua Matua’s climate is warm, there’s excellent airflow during frost-prone periods and the soil found in some areas is heavier and composed of clay, which is great for growing succulent grapes. This area is home to Tohu Wines’ award-winning pinot noir, Albarino and chardonnay.

Learn more about the Tohu Whenua series

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