We caught-up with Mark Bowers, Sales & Marketing Manager at Rapaura Springs, to find out a bit more about their secret to success and what sets them apart from other producers in the region.
Who started the winery and when?
The Neylon and Wiffin Families started the winery in 2005 after establishing vineyards in the 90’s.
Number of employees
What is the story behind the brand name?
Rapaura Springs is named after a natural spring that pops up alongside our Rapaura vineyard in Marlborough. So, believe it or not, it’s a real spring, in Rapaura!
What’s your signature wine?
Our Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has an impressive pedigree, winning trophies, awards and collecting high ratings. Most recently scoring 95 Points from Bob Campbell MW two years in a row (2014, 2015) and was his top rated Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in 2015.
What makes your winery special?
Our crew, our growers, an impressive winery and a razor-sharp focus on delivering the quality consumers should expect! From the vineyard, through our great distribution partners, to the consumers glass!
What makes your region special?
Marlborough is a great place to live. A commute through country roads, across a one lane bridge and through the heart of vineyard country beats a big city traffic jam any day! The ability to make World class wines, a great climate and a great “playground” in the Marlborough Sounds on our doorstep, it’s hard to beat!
When did you think you finally ‘made’ it in the New Zealand wine industry?
We’ve always produced great quality wines, but 2015 was a stand-out year in which a lot more people got to know Rapaura Springs. Collecting the Air New Zealand and Marlborough Wine Show trophies as well as the New World Wine Awards Champion Sauvignon Blanc plus IWSC trophies really lifted our profile.
What did it mean to you to win the NZ Wine producer of the Year at the IWSC?
It was huge! A welcome endorsement for our efforts and – as competitions go – it’s one of the World’s pre-eminent wine competitions and is hugely respected, a high water mark. To come out on top was incredible.
We always knew we had the ‘goods’ to do it but even so it was a huge thrill. The trophies definitely opened some doors and prompted a number of responses from otherwise silent prospective partners!
Winery dog or cat?
I have an English bulldog named Boo. Brendan Neylon, company director and the driving force behind the Rapaura Springs brand, has a Beardie cross named Harry. He’s a more regular visitor that he should be, is a bit of an escape artist!
Funniest customer tasting story?
A young fella asking me at a wine festival which wine ‘tasted like beer’. He got sent on his way with a Riesling, just because.
Top 3 things to do in Marlborough?
- Fishing and boating the Marlborough Sounds
- Beaching it at Whites Bay
- Beer and wine tasting at the Grovetown Pub garden bar on a sunny afternoon
Our vintage parties are …
… full of energy, well deserved and with some well-earned “snafu” awards that are handed out to everyone’s amusement.
Do you have any new projects or special wines coming out soon?
We have a Rapaura Springs Reserve Pinot Rose, coming soon! Our first Rose….pretty in pink.