Terrace View, since inception, has really been a story about pioneering. As a Bay Area native, Kaar had been advising California wineries throughout his early career. He'd been looking to start his own project, but hadn't found the right opportunity in any of the California AVAs. On his first trip to New Zealand in 1992, he fell in love with the country, the people, and the winemaking, and proceeded to invest in what was then undeveloped sheep farm. Hawke's Bay at that time had only a handful of producers, and New Zealand wines weren't known internationally (as this predated the rise of Cloudy Bay and the Lord of The Rings). Terrace View thus became the first California-owned producer in Hawke's Bay, and Kaar was the first owner to plant the vineyard.
The vineyard itself is less than 10 miles from the Gimblett Gravels, and takes its name from the six terraces that run from the top of the property down to the Ngaruroro river. The elevation spans more than 500 ft, containing soils ranging from volcanic rock in the river bed to farming soil at the top. This variation gives us a unique ability in the region to grow our varietals across more than 36 distinct micro-climates, which creates great complexity in the wines. Terrace View is also certified sustainable in New Zealand, and all of the pruning in the spring is still done by local sheep.
Another first, our flagship planting was Zinfandel from clippings of old vines from Ravenswood. This made us the first Zinfandel ever made in New Zealand, and we carry this distinction with pride. From those early days we produced wine under several different labels, primarily Kemblefield, which was a portmanteau of the name Field and our then-winemaker John Kemble. We received numerous awards for our Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Merlot, and of course the flagship Zinfandel. Around 2008, economic pressures made it less appealing to continue producing under our own label, and Terrace View evolved its model to produce custom wine made for other wineries and private label production. During that time we've made tremendous investments back into the vineyard - adding an onsite water dam, frost fans, new irrigation lines, and additional tanks in the winery.
Richard Rhodes now holds the reigns of winemaking at Terrace View. Richard, a native of Hawke's Bay, worked vintages and made wine on every possible continent before coming back home to settle down. When he's not out surfing in Gisborne with his kids and wife Penny, Richard brings unparalleled experience and creativity to his work in the winery. He surgically applies his international training, while still making true New Zealand wines that represent his home.
In 2018, we are re-launching in the US with our new label, Harrier Ridge, which takes its name from the Harrier Hawks that fly through the vineyard. The vision for Harrier Ridge is to produce limited quantities of only the best varietals in a given vintage. In our history, we've made 25 vintages across more than 10 varietals and now produce almost one million liters of wine each year. Harrier Ridge represents only the top 0.5% of that volume. This premium allotment is hand-selected and carefully guided through the winery by Richard using techniques like barrel and open-top fermentation, sur lie aging, and malolactic fermentation that often differentiate the wines from our fellow Kiwi producers. The label for Harrier Ridge was also designed by the Field family and features a cork closure instead of a screw cap, reflecting our California roots.
Harrier Ridge was first shown at the Made in New Zealand Tasting in San Francisco on April 16th and presented in New York the same week. It is available in limited quantities to partner restaurants and retailers in California before being made available Direct-to-Consumer to Terrace View members. It will then open up to a waiting-list until supply is gone.