Astrolabe Wines is a small family-run winery that was established by winemaker Simon Waghorn in 1996.
An astrolabe is an ancient astronomical instrument that was used to make a diverse range of calculations. Its name translates as ‘star-taker’. A mariner’s astrolabe, modified for use upon a ship, was used by early navigators to determine latitude by measuring the altitude of a celestial object. French explorer Dumont d’Urville charted the Marlborough coast in 1827 aboard a ship named L’Astrolabe. When winemaker Simon Waghorn started his own label, he chose the name Astrolabe because of its historic ties with Marlborough and its connotations of exploration and discovery. Working in a profession at the conflux of art and science, there is a certain affinity with the artisans who painstakingly crafted these often ornate instruments.
Simon Waghorn has been honing his craft over four decades. He is acknowledged as one of New Zealand’s best sauvignon blanc producers and has established a benchmark style of sauvignon blanc that reflects an unparalleled diversity of vineyard sources. After the international success of his Sauvignon Blanc established Astrolabe’s reputation, Simon gave up his other winemaking commitments to focus on Astrolabe. Careful site selection, expert picking decisions, delicate fruit handling and astute blending are the hallmarks of his Marlborough wines. Simon’s personal style defines an Astrolabe wine — focused, balanced and elegant. Simon crafts a range of beautiful wines that express the purity and intensity of fruit flavours afforded by the climate and soils of the Marlborough region.
Simon sources fruit from across the whole Marlborough growing region, pushing as far as the southern coast, where limestone soils can be found. All grapes are sourced from ten families who live on their land and farm sustainably. Many of the relationships with these growers are more than 20 years-old. These dedicated growers understand the rhythms of the land and know how to grow grapes that express the terroir. These sites are spread across the Marlborough sub-regions, giving a diversity of soil profile and mesoclimate. Each vineyard was chosen for the distinctive flavour it produces.
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