Spoonbill Wines and Rawiri Vineyard are owned by David and Chris Eatwell. Born and raised in New Zealand, Dave moved to the USA in 1980. After many years as an engineer and business owner he turned his focus to wine. Dave and his wife Chris live in the St. Louis area of Missouri in the USA, however they spend a few months a year down in New Zealand where Dave does all of the winemaking.
Dave made his first Spoonbill wine in 2007 with fruit purchased from what is now Rawiri Vineyard, which Dave and Chris purchased in 2008. In 2010 Dave decided to export his wine, only 150 cases, back to the US and sell it in Missouri.
Dave works two vintages a year in both the northern and southern hemispheres. His first vintage was 2005 in Oregon, where he continued making wine through 2008. In 2009 he went to Burgundy, France, the Mecca of Pinot Noir and has continued there through 2011 and again in 2013. In 2011, he also went to Oregon for a short time during the vintage, giving him 3 vintages in one year. Due to working in both hemispheres as a 'flying winemaker', he now has over 20 vintages of experience.
In addition to working two vintages each year since 2005, Dave studied over a 2-1/2 year period and earned a ‘Certificate in Winemaking’ from the University of California, Davis. After learning from the many different ways of making wine at the various locations where he has worked, Dave has taken different aspects from all of these places to come up with his own style. Dave’s philosophy is “I prefer to let the fruit show and do the talking and try to interfere as little as possible in the winemaking. It all starts with the grapes and if I can produce good fruit at Rawiri Vineyard, my job is not to mess it up”.
The grapes for all the Spoonbill wines come from Rawiri Vineyard which is located on the hillside of the Omaka Valley (Southern Valleys) of Marlborough, New Zealand.
It is a total of 6.5 hectares (16 acres) with 5 hectares (12.5 acres) planted in vines. 4.2 hectares of Pinot noir and 0.8 hectares of Pinot gris. Some of the fruit from Rawiri is sold to other quality wineries in the area.
We make two levels of Pinot Noir, a reserve and an estate, and a Pinot Gris for which all of the fruit comes from Rawiri vineyard.
We like to let the fruit express itself in the wine and let nature do most of the work, interfering as we feel necessary for the integrity of the wine and to produce as high a quality as we can.
As the French say, “Un vin bien fait n'est pas un vin corrige par l'homme” - “A well treated wine is an untreated wine”.