Meet the makers

Sally Blackwell, Hawkesbridge

Sally Blackwell's Hawksbridge winery in Marlborough is recognised as one of the finest boutique brands in the region.

Hawkesbridge is recognised as one of the finest boutique brands from Marlborough. The original Hawkesbridge vineyard was planted in 1990 and includes Marlborough's most successful varieties Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.


In some vintages, Hawkesbridge also turns to other top regions in New Zealand (such as Central Otago) to select fruit for special reserve wines.

Clear air, fresh water, cool climate

The cold, dry Marlborough region is renowned around the world for the quality of its wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc. The clear air, fresh pure water, stony soils and crisp cold climate provide the perfect conditions for grape growing. During the day, sunlight warms the stones on the top layer of soil, which retains residual heat as night falls. The cold nights allow ripening to slow down until sunrise, with the overall effect of a long, slow ripening season that allows grapes to reach optimal sugar and acid levels. The long ripening season is reflected in the quality of the wines, which show clear, strong varietal characters supported by good levels of natural acidity.

Premium Hawkesbridge range

The Hawkesbridge range features Marlborough’s most famous styles, with their Sauvignon Blanc revered for its clarity and purity of flavour (previous vintages have won many awards, including our White Wine of the Year). The other style that thrives in Marlborough is Pinot Noir, and Hawkesbridge creates a sublime example, with layers of savoury, spiced berry fruit, hints of wood smoke and leather and an earthy complexity that matches well with a variety of cuisines. In some vintages Hawkesbridge may also create an aromatic, sweet Gewurztraminer, another variety that thrives in Marlborough.

Your favourite wine moment

“Sharing a wonderful bottle of Carmenere with my brother and a Chilean friend in Santiago in an incredible, atmospheric, authentic Chilean restaurant at the foot of the Andes!”

Winemaking philosophy

1. Good fruit!

2. KISS (keep it simple, stupid!)

3. Take good care of it!

Winemaking background

After a late sea change from a scientific research background, I realised how good winemaking was – I got to use people as guinea pigs instead of animals. I have been making wine for nearly 20 years and consider myself very lucky to be in this industry.

Sally Blackwell

“I like to make different wines that make people think, share (preferably with a meal) and remember.”