Johanneshof's Underground Cellar
Johanneshof’s adoration for Europe’s century old wine culture led Edel and Warwick to establish New Zealand’s first underground rock cellar. Tunneled into solid sandstone, it is 50 meters long and 20 meters deep underground our Maybern Vineyard. Established in 1993, West Coast miners were commissioned to blast out 30 tonnes of rock with gelignite to establish the 50 metre long cellar - 20m deep beneath the hillside vineyard "Maybern" named after Warwick's parents who bought the land in the early 1970s.
The cool, stable temperature and high natural humidity of this unique cellar provide ideal storage conditions to allow the maturation of wines in French Barriques and German barrels. In this traditional cellar, one of Johanneshof’s flagship wines- the Methode Traditionnelle ‘EMMI’ is fermented in its bottle and aged on its yeast lees for more than seven years, before being carefully turned by hand on the French riddling racks and desgorged in the winery 20m above. A separate chamber at the very end of the cellar provides a perfect home for the Winemakers' extensive personal wine library of some 2000 wines, aptly called 'Schatzkammer' (Treasure Trove).
Tours of the undergound cellar are available by appointment, please contact us to arrange.
Johanneshof Cellars sits nestled in a quiet Koromiko Valley, between the towns of Blenheim and Picton, in New Zealand's largest wine region - Marlborough.
Our estate vineyard- "Maybern" stretches up behind us, on a 30 degree slope, overseeing the winery and cellar door below.
Maybern is the only vineyard in Marlborough to have Kenepuru soils over a bedrock of schist and iron-rich sandstone. It’s the unique nature of this close planted, non-irrigated, 30-degree sloping vineyard facing Northwest, combined with our hands-on and meticulous approach to wine making which gives our wines such individual character and complexity.
Warwick and Edel make all wines on site combining the traditions of the art of wine-making with modern technology. Their principals are to crop at a very low level to enhance fruit quality and flavours, harvesting the grapes predominately by hand and interfering as little as possible with vines and wines. The estate vineyard is close-planted in European tradition and not irrigated. The winery is build multi-levelled to utilise gravity rather than pumping wines. A modern laboratory ensures control of fermentations but is not seen as a substitute to regular organoleptic evaluations of the wines.
"The underground rock cellar was the first to be built in New Zealand, in 1993, and covers a total length of 50 metres. It was tunnelled into solid sandstone and is 20 metres underground. Visiting this subterranean cellar is like stepping into the old world of winemaking. Advance bookings are essential." - Cuisine Wine New Zealand
In this video, one of our vineyard workers is working at the top of our Maybern Vineyard, looking down on the winery and cellar door below as he begins the process of "wire lifting" in spring.