10 years ago, Yoshiaki Sato did what a lot of us only ever day-dream about - he threw in his high-flying commercial banking job, and moved to Central Otago to make wine. Nice.
Yoshi and his wife Kyoko are devotees of the natural, and minimalist intervention school of winemaking, taking the approach that less is more. To this end, Yoshi only uses fruit that has been grown organically or biodynamically, he doesn't add cultured yeasts, or fining chemicals to the wine, or any other additives for that matter. A tiny amount of sulphur dioxide (less than 15ppm) is used at bottling to protect it from oxygen, but other than that, his wines are true reflections of vintage, variety and site.
Northburn Vineyard - sandy, stony loam over gravel with mineral schist and quartz.
Hand picked, all destemmed. Wild yeast fermentation before maturation for 17 months in used French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered.
Savoury umami characters, silken mouthfeel yet, fine dusty tannins supporting the palate. The wine flows seamlessly from one point to the next, finishing with elegance and charm.
Leaving from their banking profession, Yoshiaki & Kyoko Sato established Sato Wines as the first exclusive natural wine making project in Central Otago in 2009. Sato wines is working (either leasing or buying fruits) only with reliable local growers of organic or biodynamic vineyards, based on long-term firm relationship. Yoshi & Kyoko believe grape vines need to be grown in organic ways and grapes have to be simply transformed to wine with minimum intervention by human hands and away from chemicals or additives in order to express the original character of each vineyard site and the season. Sato Wines started developing their own vineyard on 5 Ha east-facing slope at the foot of Mt. Pisa this year, still aiming at small artisanal operation to grow grapes and wines in biodynamic regime.