Echo Bay has been a family gathering place for 5 generations. Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon along with smaller quantities of Malbec, Carmenère, Petit Verdot and Sangiovese were planted on the 5-acre family vineyard with the first vintage released in 2015.
Grand-daughter to Echo Bay’s founders Al and Nella Kenyon, Kelsey Rufiange is a former graduate of Lincoln University where she studied oenology and viticulture and later worked vintages in New Zealand, California and Australia before coming home to apply her vision to the family land alongside her parents Kathy and Mark. Echo Bay’s south-west facing slopes, comprised of sandy/silty loam with randomized gravels deposited by glacial meltwater, experience a greater exposure to afternoon sun allowing for later ripening varietals.
"The small acreage allows us to be intimately involved in the evolution of our growing season.”
- Kelsey Rufiange
Without being dogmatic towards any particular growing method, we practice chemical-free farming and focus on nourishing our vines through various holistic practices such as organics and biodynamics. Applications such as compost, plant ferments and preparations are added to our vines and soil while cover crops such as clovers, alfalfas, mustards and yarrow are encouraged to fix nutrients and strengthen structure. By building up biodiversity in our soils and vineyard environment, we can recreate a more resilient ecosystem that will that will ultimately require less outside inputs.
In the winery, we strive to make our wine with minimal intervention. The native yeasts are left to spontaneously ferment our grapes into wine as healthy grapes from the vineyard help encourage clean and trouble-free fermentations. Yeasts play a significant role in aromas and flavours and we believe that indigenous ferments are a way to create a truly authentic wine.
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