Akitu was established in 2001 in the heart of Central Otago’s Upper Clutha basin. Their 12 hectare vineyard sits alone at 380m above sea level on a stunning north facing slope just minutes from Lake Wanaka.
In a nutshell: Founder Andrew Donaldson, a native to Central Otago and a Pinot Noir specialist, had long believed in the region’s ability to produce exceptional world class Pinot Noir and when the opportunity arose to purchase the Mount Barker site, he did so with this in mind.
Akitu means ‘apex’ in the Maori language and the vineyard is entirely dedicated to Pinot Noir. Until 2019, Akitu produced only two wines, the ‘A1’ and the ‘A2’. The main difference between the two wines is that the A1 uses a higher percentage of the Abel Pinot Noir clone, more whole bunches and a higher percentage of new French oak sculpting the more complex and nuanced of the two wines.
Not content with just making top quality New Zealand Pinot Noir in the classic sense, for the first time in 2020, Akitu launched its third wine, Akitu Pinot Noir Blanc, a white wine made from red grapes. This is in very limited release which serves to highlight their commitment to continually striving to produce the very best and most interesting expressions of the Pinot noir varietal in the terroir.
The terroir: Akitu experiences a semi-continental climate with high sunshine hours, long summers and temperate autumns, all of which contributes to creating wines of amazing fruit purity and complexity. The vineyard is entirely dedicated to Pinot Noir, block planted in 6 sections on 250 million year old schist soils; Blocks A and B were planted in 2002 with the remainder the following year. There are approximately 41,000 vines of six carefully selected clones of Pinot Noir planted across the vineyard according to soil and aspect.
The Akitu ‘personality’: Akitu creates hand-crafted wines with a limited production which express the individual personality of their terroir and climate.