The Awatere Valley is located in the southern part of Marlborough and is an area with its own geological significance. The Estate with seven distinct terraces carved out during the glacial period sits on the awatere river which carved a distinct path through the valley.
The soils are approximately 40,000 years old. The top three metres of soil are a silty clay loam that sits on a bed of old river rock and papa limestone. Perfect for pinot noir.
Taming the unruly, overgrown land required a sensitive approach to preserve the natural terracing and diverse soil profiles. After two years of careful planning and minimal soil disturbance, john belsham planted the first vines in 2000.
Sustainably farmed from the start, the awatere estate vineyard has high density plantings of pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and riesling; varietals all produced under the foxes island label. Today 70% of the vineyard is planted to pinot noir.
In 2011 a formal organic farming program was implemented.