Previously sheep pastures, the land at Clos Henri was bare and untouched when the Bourgeois family landed in Marlborough in the year 2000.
Vineyard set up
The first plantings have been done at 6000 plants/hectare. High density planting is the first characteristic you will spot when you drive through the gate at Clos Henri. This is historically a European way of planting, around twice higher than a typical Marlborough vineyard. This is of key importance to the eyes of the family. From their long and hands-on experience in Sancerre and cool climate winegrowing, they believe high density allows vines to carry less fruit, hence more concentration, and forces them to source deeper water and minerals. Over time vines become more connected to their soil and less influenced by climatic changes. Therefore there was no other choice for the family than selecting a bare patch of land, instead of a pre-developed conventionally planted vineyard.
Our pruning system is exclusively double Guyot (two canes). Along with detailed shoot-thinning at spring, double guyot allows perfect fruit positioning, which, in turn, lowers disease pressure and ensures even ripeness. It also provides ideal symmetrical shape to the vine trunk, allowing the sap flow to run evenly through the plant and increase its life span. It is also of our philosophy to think older vines will make wines of greater depth, so let’s nurture our plants and wish them long life!
Pruning, is to us, one the most valuable and crucial vineyard tasks. Every year we ensure the vine is given the chance to live for long and offer better fruit every year by carefully limiting cuts.
The complex combination of high density planting, low vigour, low yields and organic practices, allows us to gradually work towards dry farming (no irrigation). As expected, we observe the vigour lowering naturally because of this, enhancing greater concentration and minerality. Crafting premium wines through dry farming has been, to us, one of the most meaningful achievements since we established our vineyard. We see it as the ultimate expression of true wine terroir.
Under vine cultivation allows better penetration of rain water and aeration of the soil, encouraging growth of micro-organisms and humus with the addition of compost if needed.
All practices in the vineyard are driven by a respect for the land and working with each soil to ensure wines are crafted with the highest quality and a true sense of place.