Featured Winery December 2023 – Delta Estate Wines

This month we head back down to Marlborough to visit Delta Estate: Delta was founded in 2000 by three prominent wine industry veterans and good mates, who had spent evenings drinking wine and discussing the potential for exceptional and unique Pinot Noir in Marlborough. Using their collective extensive viticulture and wine-making expertise, they found a site that was ideal for growing high quality Pinot Noir in Marlborough’s Southern Valleys.

This became the founding Delta vineyard, planted with high quality Dijon Pinot Noir clones. As other vineyard sites were identified for their unique characteristics, Delta has grown to incorporate other grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. Understanding that different grape varieties perform best in different soil types and micro-climates, the Delta Estate philosophy is to produce wines that give a real expression of the terroir on which they are grown.


Heather Stewart, Winemaker
Heather has always followed her passions, which has led her on an interesting journey from studying art history, obtaining a Master of Science in Psychology, traveling around the world, to doing a vintage as a cellar-hand in Marlborough. She has a Graduate Diploma in Oenology from EIT in Hawkes Bay, and acquired extensive knowledge wine-making for Saint Clair Family Estate in Marlborough for ten years.Heather joined the Delta Wine Company wine-making team in 2015 and in 2017 took over the reins hand crafting the Delta wines.

Neal Ibbotson, Founding Partner
Neal and his wife Judy were one of the earliest private grape growers in Marlborough, first planting grapes in 1978. Their extensive viticulture experience spans 40 years and has allowed them to identify the best vineyard areas and sites in Marlborough. The Delta Vineyard being a perfect example of this. In 1994 Neal and Judy established Saint Clair Family Estate Wines &in 2005 built a state of the art winery at Riverlands Estate in Marlborough where the Delta Wines have been crafted from the 2015 vintage onwards.

Alison Baylis, Brand Manager
Alison’s interest in wine began at a young age whilst working at a fine dining restaurant in her hometown of Colchester, UK. During this period, she spent time in Epernay, France, learning about Champagne production, and was guided by experienced sommeliers on how to select wines for food pairing and wine lists. Her on-trade experience means she’s hugely passionate about supporting the restaurant industry and is always learning about new food and wine pairings. She is endlessly enthusiastic about New Zealand wine!

Read more about the Delta team at: https://www.deltawines.co.nz/pages/our-team


Pinot Noir Vineyard

Delta Pinot Noir Vineyard
Situated to the west of Blenheim, the Delta Farm was first established in 1846 by Constantine Dillon. The land went through numerous transformations before being purchased in 2000. It had served as a dairy, a sheep farm and because of the splendid elevation of the hills, an airstrip all prior to the creation of Delta’s flagship Pinot Noir vineyard. The shape of the original Delta vineyard is very similar to the symbol for the capital Greek letter ‘Delta’; hence the name given to this site on detailed topographic maps of the area.

Delta Sauvignon Blanc Vineyard

Delta Sauvignon Blanc Vineyard
Delta Estate Wines has found that the Dillon’s Point and Lower Wairau area produces Marlborough’s most intense flavours in Sauvignon Blanc. The Dillons Point sub-region has slightly cooler summer nights, deep even soils with high levels of available minerals, and incredible drainage due to sand from an ancient riverbed lying beneath the soil. Historical flooding deposited nutrient rich silts, which in turn created fertile free draining soil abundant in micro-nutrients. These soils are ideal for the production of Delta’s expressive and weighty Sauvignon Blancs.

Delta Hawke's Bay Vineyard

Delta Hawke’s Bay Vineyard
Based in New Zealand’s North Island, our Hawke’s Bay vineyard is the ideal spot for producing our complex and flavoursome Merlot, where fruit is sourced from our vineyard within the Gimblett Gravels Wine Growing District. The Ngaruroro River flooded this vineyard area in 1876 and left behind an expanse of gravel, stones and sandy alluvial soils. This distinct combination along with high sunshine hours, humidity and low rainfall means the gravel soil retains warmth and encourages optimum ripening for our Merlot grapes. Our Hawke’s Bay vineyard has ideal ripening conditions for achieving the rich plum and cocoa powder tannins displayed in our Delta Merlot.


Delta Estate Wines produce two ranges of wine from their vineyards in Marlborough and the Hawke’s Bay…

See below for a special code to get a 15% discount offer on all case orders made online between 1 – 31 December 2023

The Delta Estate range comprises of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, a Rose and Pinot Noir plus a couple of bubbles: a Sparkling Rose and Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc.

Their signature Delta Wines encapsulate expressions of the terroir and enhance the unique elements that their vineyards offer. With careful winemaking and the unique combination of sub-climates and soils, the Delta range wines are elegant and vibrant, providing exceptional flavours whilst still being stylistically approachable and supple.

Excellent for food matching or can be enjoyed on their own for any occasion.

Their flagship Hatters Hill wines encompass the finest, carefully selected, small-batch handcrafted wines comprises of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Merlot.

These wines use only the best quality grapes, preserving and enhancing the expression of the unique vineyard sites. They are powerful wines made to reflect the very best expression of the terroir and winemaker’s skills. They have potential for mid to long term cellaring and are excellent food matching wines.

The name Hatters Hill stems from Tom Hatter, an eccentric and colourful character who lived in rural Marlborough in the early 1900s. Folklore dictates that his time was spent tending to his orchards and walking the hills overlooking the Delta site. It’s been said that we they “mad as hatters” to focus all of their initial efforts on Pinot Noir production in Marlborough in the early 2000’s, and if it weren’t for the quality of the wine, they reckon they’d agree.

Delta Estate Wines: https://www.deltawines.co.nz/

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JB’s Delta Wine Notes:

Delta Estate ‘Hatters Hill’ Chardonnay 2022, Marlborough NZ
Shiny pale straw-gold in colour, subtle green hues, medium bodied wine. Aromas of ripe peaches, lemon rind, creamy, butter leesy notes & nutty oak. The palate has a bright acidity & a slight wet-stone minerality, juicy stone-fruit & citrus flavours follow, fine grained spiced oak & a creamy mouthfeel all finishing long and dry. A young, vibrant & juicy chardonnay with loads of character which will certainly improve with age.

Delta Estate Hatters Hill Chardonnay 2021
Bright clear, mid yellow-gold in colour, medium bodied. In the nose, aromas of fresh peach, nectarine, lemon citrus, toasty / nutty oak & vanilla spice notes. A concentrated palate begins with ripe stone-fruit, white peaches, apricots, lemon & subtle butterscotch flavours, a crisp grapefruit acidity is balanced with creamy textural oak / malo / lees elements adding great complexity and downright deliciousness.

Delta Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Almost crystal-clear coloured with a hint of pale green. The nose is quite intense with bright citrusy aromas, & a savoury whiff of wet stone & arm-pit to finish? The palate is all vibrant juicy lemon/ lime fruit flavours, nicely textured, zesty acidity and a long mouthwatering finish. Classic Marlborough Savvy!

Delta Estate Hatter’s Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Pale straw in colour with a pale gold tinge. Lovely nose of ripe stone-fruit, passionfruit & a fragrant herbal / stalky note too. On the palate there’s ripe apple, peach & tropical fruit flavours with a grippy textural mouthfeel, steely acidity & a long persistent finish that gets the juices flowing. Excellent wine!

Delta Estate Hatters Hill Chardonnay 2019
Bright pale lemon coloured with golden hues, medium bodied, nice legs. The nose is all about the stone-fruit, then toasted nuts & butterscotch aromas with some spice / oak notes. A creamy full-flavoured palate has a softer acidity, ripe peach & nectarine stone-fruit flavours & citrus notes, nice barrel . oak influence too – layered, textured and a long tasty finish. Current vintage is 2021 – Excellent Marlborough Chardonnay.

Delta Wine Company Merlot 2017
Hawke’s Bay NZ Deep purple / cherry coloured in the glass, with dark berry and plum fruit driving the bouquet. Med bodied, delicious mouth-filling palate of dark fruitcake and spice, powdery tannins, lively acidity and a persistent finish, lovely now needs a couple of years to mature.

Delta Estate Hatters Hill / SV Chardonnay 2016
Bright clear lemon – gold in colour with lush stone-fruit, vanilla, bread & butterscotch notes in the nose. On the palate there’s juicy nectarine, citrus and melon flavours, balanced by a little spice, soft acidity and creamy textured mouthfeel from French oak barrel ferment / lees aging. Full of character and drinking elegantly now!

Delta Estate Pinot Noir 2016
Marlborough NZ Dark cherry coloured with a red berry, cherry, plum and spice in the nose, medium bodied, beautifully integrated wine with fine tannins, soft acidity, subtle oak, juicy raspberry / dark plum fruit characters – well balanced and elegant finish.

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