Established in 1993 and planted on land considered too hard, too dry and unfertile for wine production, Spy Valley has since become one of Marlborough’s finest cool climate vineyards.
In 1993 Bryan and Jan Johnson established the first of their 380 acres of Johnson Estate vineyards. Pioneers in what was then a Marlborough sub region, the Lower Waihopai development continued with fruit being grown and sold to other wine companies.
From vintage 2000 wine was produced and sold under the Spy Valley label. The brand name SPY VALLEY® is derived from the presence of a satellite communications monitoring station (spy base) nearby, part of the Echelon Global Network.
In 2003, all wine production moved on site to the ultra modern 2000 tonne winemaking facility - Spy Valley Winery. Situated on site in the lower Waihopai Valley, the winery comprises state of the art winemaking equipment, bottling line, temperature controlled warehousing, cellar door and all administration. It was at this same time we became certified under the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand programme.
In 2006, Spy Valley winery won the New Zealand Institute of Architects Award for Best Commercial Building.
In 2007, the Outpost vineyard, located in the Omaka Valley, was added to the estate vineyards. It is a close planted hillside sloping vineyard composed of 4 varieties of grapes over 25 acres. 2007 was also the year that the Spy Valley Envoy range of wines was released. Accumulated knowledge of our estate vineyards has allowed the identification of single vineyard micro-sites that produce exceptional fruit year on year.
In 2008, Spy Valley Wines won the prestigious UK International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) ”New Zealand Producer of the Year”.
In 2010, Spy Valley received worldwide acclaim, by winning the ”New Zealand Producer of the Year” for a second time at the IWSC, UK. 2010 also marked the year we became certified to the international environmental standard ISO 14001 and the year the Spy Valley label received a revamped label design.
In 2012, Area H171 joined the estate vineyards - located in the lower Wairau Valley it is composed of 57 acres of Sauvignon Blanc grapes and includes a rare and protected wetland habitat. This was also the year that Spy Valley Wines won the Best of Wine Tourism Award for Architecture and Landscapes.
Currently with a crush capacity of 3,000 tonnes Spy Valley remains small enough to retain family values and have a total focus on wine quality and customer satisfaction.
Exporting around 80% of production keeps the sales team in the international markets and are in touch with consumers the world over.