When the Lawson family sold Te Awa Farm a few years back, many thought that would be the last they’d hear of the pioneering grape growers. 

Yet despite becoming involved in a new technology-based business following the sale, being a winegrower for 20 years is something that Gus Lawson knew he wouldn’t be able to get out of his system easily.  Hence the reason for him hanging on to a small terraced hillside block in Hawkes Bay with the intention of producing limited quantities of premium quality wine some day.  Planted eight years ago, the vineyard overlooks the world-renown Gimblett Gravels district and takes its name from the Cypress trees studding the rows.

Cypress Wines are now celebrating the debut release of the first four wines in the range – Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Merlot and Syrah.  Gus’s wife Melanie is heading off around New Zealand to promote the wines which are already gaining great reviews from restaurants, wine stores and media alike.  “The wines are produced from hillside grapes which are blended with fruit from our vineyard on the stony soils deposited around the base of our hill” says Gus “they’re ripe, approachable and really food-friendly wines”.

“People were asking us what the hell were we thinking, releasing our wines when the world is supposed to be going into recession” laughs Melanie, “but we had this amazing fruit and the wines came out so well, so Gus and I just went into denial and decided to get out and go for it anyway!”.

The years of hard work in the vineyard are beginning to pay off with listings in the likes of Wellington’s Arbitrageur, Boulcott St Bistro, and the Wine Loft.  Hawke’s Bay’s Milk & Honey, Diva, Provedore, Opera Kitchen, Pure and Deliciosa have also picked them up.   “Advintage, Duffy & Finns, Regional Wines & Spirits, Kirkcaldie & Stains and Palmerston North’s Village Wine Trader have been fantastic supporters too” explains Melanie, “so we’re really looking forward to showing them our new Cypress Terraces range which will be available early next year”. 
Cypress Terraces wines will be strictly small volumes of syrah, chardonnay and viognier sourced exclusively from the hillside vineyard.

Working with the fruit from this unique block is Chairman of Hawkes Bay Winegrowers and winemaking consultant, Rod McDonald   “We just feel so privileged to have our relationship with Rod – he’s a great friend and a gifted winemaker” says Melanie. 

RRP’s are: Cypress Chardonnay 2007 $19.99 Cypress Pinot Gris 2008 $24.99 Cypress Merlot 2007 $19.99 and Cypress Syrah 2007 $24.99 and bottle shots, tasting notes and further info can be sourced via the website or from Vintage Wines & Spirits New Zealand




WineNZ Magazine - Winter 2009
Winestate Magazine - May/June 2009
"Brand New" - Michael Cooper - Listener April 4 2009
"Full circle for winemaker" - John Hawkesby - NZ Herald Living Magazine 13 April 2009 - Cypress Hawke's bay NZ Syrah 2007
"Growing Grapes on Gradient"- Heartland Extra, Hawkes Bay Today Thursday, January 15, 2009 (PDF 1.93mb)
"Cypress has elegant presence" - 48 Hours, Hawkes Bay Today Saturday, September 27, 2008 (PDF495kb)