We all know that there’s Art and there’s Wine: Dancing Water is all about the “Art of Beautiful Wine” and is our Featured Winery for February 2023
In 2017, when the opportunity to purchase one of New Zealand’s oldest North Canterbury boutique vineyards came along, a small group of folks agreed that Dancing Water was the perfect project for them to share their combined skills, to create something that would touch their hearts, and to produce something truly beautiful and lasting – a living work of art.
As time has passed the project has taken on new meaning. As the vineyard continues its restoration journey to its former glory, they now consider themselves to be more than owners. They believe they are the guardians of a piece of history, and it is their responsibility to continue its legacy to create exquisite wine for generations of premium wine lovers to come.
Right from day one their excitement for Dancing Water’s old vines and their potential has not left them. The anticipation each vintage brings is like a painting unfolding before their eyes.
Restoring and preserving the dry grown, un-grafted, 30-year-old vines and the surrounding property is an important part of their future. Viticulturist, Dr David Jordan and the team are committed to ensuring that these vines, which are a part of New Zealand’s history, continue for generations to enjoy.
The vineyard was originally a farm but in 1981, the owner diversified and planted Chardonnay (Mendoza) and Gewurztraminer vines on their own roots. Later new ownership saw the Gewurztraminer replaced with Pinot Noir, while Sauvignon Blanc and Scheurebe were planted in 2000.
The vineyard at Dancing Water now has blocks of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and the only block of Scheurebe in the Southern Hemisphere. They also source Pinot Gris from the Matapari block at the eastern end of the Gibbston Valley in Central Otago.
As the vineyard is so small, only about 4 hectares, everything is done by hand – pruning, vine training, cane placement, leaf plucking, harvest and pretty much everything focused on producing the best quality wines that reflect the vineyard,
Each Vintage Is A Work Of Art
Fine wine comes from fine vineyards and at Dancing water they have a deep understanding or the the history of the site, the terrior and what they need to do to protect and enhance their precious vineyard –
The consultant winemaker, Simon Nunns believes a vintage captures a moment in time. The vagaries of the weather, the condition of our soil and the inspiration it evokes, allows each year to have a consistent presence but with unique cues that mark the individuality of that year.
“Wine quality is measured by; Balance, Length Intensity & Expressiveness and Complexity. We are so grateful to have Simon Nunns as our Consultant Winemaker ensuring that all of the beautiful, Dancing Water wines are of the highest quality. If they didn’t meet the criteria you wouldn’t see them under our label – that’s very reassuring for us and our amazing customers.”
The pride the team at Dancing Water feels for their beautiful vineyard, and the exquisite wines they have created so far, is priceless.
Wines are bottled both under the main Dancing Water label and the Art Series for a few special releases each vintage. Current releases are available online here: https://www.dww.co.nz/collections/all
Visit the Dancing Water Website here: https://www.dww.co.nz/
The Art Series – Labels by artist Michelle Reid
At Dancing Water Wines they believe that art and wine are intrinsically linked, both highly creative and considered pursuits that can bewitch and beguile those who experience them in the most profound way.
One of their favourite artists is Michelle Reid, whose work ‘Glint’ 2019 (from the exhibition ‘Atmospheric Disquiet’) provides the muse behind the art series of labels. The preliminary drawings can be seen on several of our labels and holds a special place at our vineyard property.
Dancing Water recently purchased the second piece in the Atmospheric Disquiet series, ‘Flurry’. Flurry is an evocative work and speaks of the impact of the environment that we have. Dancing Water felt that their journey to restore the vineyard was a perfect way to demonstrate how restoration can be equally as powerful. Flurry will appear in the art series when Pinot Noir bottled in the Bourgogne 1859 bottle under cork are released (December 2023)
An artist based in Tamaki Makaurau who explores atmosphere aesthetics and emotional spaces, we love Michelle’s energy, and her interest in the smudging of space between locatable and lyrical references makes her art an ongoing joy for us and our customers.
‘Glint’ itself probes the intangible, omnipresent and sometimes unsettling qualities that engage us when we experience an illuminating atmosphere. Michelle says of the ‘Atmospheric Disquiet’ body of work: “according to philosopher Herman Schmitz, each of us manifests a non-locational felt-space during our uninterrupted living experience, or ‘corporeal isles’, and these are as real as our bodies and mind. I explored visual expressions symbolic of emotions and thoughts, taking cues from Besant’s ‘thought forms’. Besant observed ethereal things such as ‘idea-pictures’ in abstract drawings at the turn of the twentieth century.”
“Intending to find a softened pictorial field in a nearly textureless surface, the paintings are composed with thinly applied and subtracted materials in a colour palette akin to the first and last light of the day.”
Having studied art and process in Scotland, London’s Central St Martins College and Elam School of Fine Arts at The University of Auckland, she brings a raft of experience to each piece she creates, and her current body of work draws on pattern, romanticism and modern environmentalism using an eclectic mix of research, intuition, and materiality, often dissolved in a composition of watercolours, oils, ink or occasionally organic fugitives.
Discover more about Michelle and her work via Instagram @michellereid._studio
JB’s notes on the latest Dancing Water wines tasted.
Dancing Water ‘Pinot Noir Blanc’ 2022, North Canterbury NZ
A first time limited edition release, made from 100% Pinot Noir this wine is pale apricot-pink-blush in colour, medium bodied / viscosity. There’s a pretty floral nose delivering aromas of sweet strawberries & cream. Bright concentrated palate with raspberry & strawberry flavours, a fresh zingy acidity, mineral / stone / textural notes adding body & mouthfeel. The finish is crisp, dry and has great length. A delicious elegant drop.
Dancing Water Rosé 2022, North Canterbury / Central Otago NZ
Light watermelon pink in colour with bright copper hues, medium bodied with a light viscosity. The nose is delightful with aromas of stone-fruit, lemons, pears, summer berries & cream. The palate is full, rounded & concentrated with juicy fruit flavours reflecting the nose, a zesty acidity & lovely creamy textures all melded into one. Long complex & absolutely delicious finish. Fabulous! A limited release ‘assemblage’ of Nth Canterbury Pinot Noir & Chardonnay and Central Otago Pinot Gris
Dancing Water Pinot Gris 2022, Central Otago NZ
Light straw coloured with faint green / gold hues, medium bodied with an oily viscosity. Lovely fragrant nose with aromas of ripe stone-fruit, citrus & a hint of baking spice. Concentrated palate with pear, apricot & lemon citrus flavours, warm spice notes and a lovely grippy pear-skin texture. A nice zesty acid backbone & long bone-dry finish makes for a very gorgeous & tasty PG.
Dancing Water Winery ‘Limited Release’ Pinot Noir 2021, North Canterbury NZ
Bright, shiny cherry to ruby red in colour, slighty paler at the rim, medium bodied, great legs too. The nose has a lovely earth savoury herbal note then ripe dark plum & cherry aromas, just a hint of oak spice. The palate is intense with, luscious dark fruit flavours all enveloped by ripe velvety tannins, a refreshing acidity, subtle oak & malo textural elements all wonderfully integrated. The finish is sensuous, off-dry, rich fruit flavours & textural grip lasting for ages. An elegant, complex “Absolutely Fabulous” North Canterbury Pinot Noir. Love it!