Posted by Tristan on 22nd May 2023

Shine a Light on up and coming Central Otago Producer: Moko Hills

We have been stocking the wines of Central Otago Producer: Moko Hills for a few months now.

Why feature Moko Hills? And what makes them so special and different to many of the other producers in the region?

Well, for us, it is the embodiment of a story and passion, and, the liquid within the package is outstanding - The Total Package!

I was instantly drawn to these wines when I first started at Cahn's last October, by the beautiful water-colour artwork. Each label is a homage to the protection of the local flora and fauna depicted on the label and also relates to each wine's characteristics. The labels were painted by Wellington based artist Rachel Walker. Check out her website, her work is stunning.

About Moko Hills:
I had the privilege of sitting down with Donald van der Westhuizen and Martin to taste the 2021 vintages of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. All fruit is sourced from the 10 ha, family-owned estate in the foothills of the Dunstan range, in the sub-region of Bendigo.

Donald snapped up a masters in ecosystem ecology and then later acquired a post-graduate diploma in wine science at Auckland University. He has worked vintages in Oregon, Burgundy and also tinkers about with other producers in Central Otago. With all of his experience and knowledge I would say Donald, is somewhat a Gandalf The White figure in the winemaking world, particularly with the combination of the ecology and winemaking qualifications. This seems very 'right'.

Through skill, passion and a deep connection and utmost respect for the whenua(land) and taiao(environment); Donald has created wines of ethereal quality, neither of which is typical of the region, but very much reflective of Donald's vision and the unique ecosystem he has preserved and become the rightful Kaitiaki(Guardian) of

In my opinion: this should be the way for all farming practises. Biodiversity, not a monoculture.

For your next Pinot Noir and Chardonnay purchase, Martin and I whole heartily recommend choosing a bottle of Moko Hills.

The Pinot Noir is fragrant with hints of violet and a distinctive herbal and spice quality to it. Vibrant cherry and red fruits, with a lingering lift of Turkish delight.

The Chardonnay is reminiscent of ocean spray and crushed seashells - with a real mineral drive to it - fresh stone and tropical fruits with finely-integrated French oak and crisp acidity.

These are exceptional wines and offer a superb price to quality ratio. Martin and I are excited to be selling them; but I will go as far as saying that these types of wines are the future of the region and all you international, and national wine critics need to get into them already!