Simon and Vanessa Barker
Simon and Vanessa Barker
Delaware, New Jersey, and New York
Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling
Waverley Vineyard is nestled between the bluffs of Blind River half a mile from the sea in the cooler Awatere Valley. There are recognized differences between the wines of the Awatere and Wairau valleys. Awatere wines are fresher and mineral while Wairau wines are more tropical and rounder. Blind River’s most recognizable element is a flinty, smoky minerality. Waverley was planted, mostly, in 2004.
Waverley Vineyard is nestled between the bluffs of Blind River in the southeast corner of Marlborough’s winemaking region. Co-Owners Simon and Vanessa Barker extensively researched the soil and climate in the Marlborough region, and discovered that Waverley’s terroir would produce wines of exceptional quality and character. They planted the vineyards in 2004/05 to almost 100 acres of which most are Sauvignon Blanc, and 10 acres are planted with Riesling.
Simon Barker oversees the vineyards, production and winemaking. Simon has been making wine around the world since 2003. He honed his winemaking skills in Oregon, California, England and Sancerre. Now, he and his wife Vanessa live on the Waverley Vineyard where they focus on their five distinctive Sauvignon Blancs and one Riesling from their land.
W. Gillett Johnson has overseen sales and marketing development of Barker’s Marque Wines since he joined as a 50% partner in 2008. He is a wine industry professional specializing in distribution and building brand equity. Since 1991 Gillett has managed dozens of brands, and he came onboard to help the Barkers promote and sell their wines.
Waverley is located a mile from the sea in one of the windiest areas of Marlborough. The soil at Waverly is heavy — the right kind of clay that holds water in the soil and nourishes the vine’s root system. The sea breeze makes vines less prone to disease, allowing fewer treatments. Winds from the sea and mountains also reduces temperature, lowering yields and delaying maturity so the grapes experiences more of the cooler fall evenings. The larger diurnal temperature difference helps develop aromas and flavors that give the wines their individual intensity.
While most of their wines are sourced from their own vineyard, they also source some fruit from other vineyards they manage in Blind River, from those who share their views on care and sustainability.
Their wines are made and labeled Certified Sustainable under the strict accordance of the Sustainable Wine growing Program (SWNZ). The wines are also 100% Vegan friendly.
Barker’s Marque is part of the Appellation Marlborough Wine designation, an organization started in 2018 by Marlborough grower-producers to create a distinction aimed to further specify wineries working within the land of Marlborough. Criteria include all wines must be made from grapes that are 100% sourced from Marlborough vineyards (no grapes brought in from other regions for Marlborough wines), wines must be bottle in New Zealand (no juice shipped overseas), vineyards must be Certified Sustainable, and wines must be made from grapes cropped at or below set parameters.
From the care the Barkers take in tending to their estate, to the involvement with Appellation Marlborough Wine, these authentic single vineyard and estate-grown wines have a crispness and minerality not found elsewhere in Marlborough.
On winemaking — “Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is nothing.” —Simon and Venessa Barker, Winemakers and Proprietors.