NWWA Top 50 – Black Cottage

At Black Cottage, the team are dedicated to producing sustainable New Zealand wines full of gusto. Selecting unique parcels of fruit from Marlborough and Central Otago, they strive to create very special wines which are approachable and delicious. Founder Dave Clouston, together with Winemaker Sanna Stander, mix their European expertise with the best local fruit, delivering bright yet sophisticated wines which are incredibly drinkable.

Nestled amongst vineyards, olive trees, a cricket ground and lying alongside Marlborough’s Opawa River, the winery hosts international guests and friends alike. Days are spent playing cricket, clay bird shooting, cooking fresh fish on the BBQ and drinking delicious wine. The company is fun, life is good.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously at Black Cottage but focus on crafting delicious wines that over-deliver,” said winemaker Sanna Stander. “Black Cottage wines are made for great times, sensational food and fantastic friends. From the chaps and cherry of the pinot noir, the zest and zing of the sauvignon blanc, to the salinity and spice of the rosé, enjoy with friends while doing something amazing.”

What characteristics of your wine are influenced by the physical landscape of your winery?

“This wine is a blend of fruit from the Wairau valley, Lower Wairau and the Awatere valley and each of these sub-regions contributes to the flavour profile of the wine. Passion fruit and sweaty flavours from the Wairau and the elderflower and crushed herb notes from the Awatere. The warm, dry climate of Marlborough results in fruit with upfront and concentrated flavours and the cool nights enables these flavours to be captured as well as holding that juicy acidity.”

What is one of the most rewarding things about winemaking?

“With winemaking, I get to use such a broad skill set. Every day is different; every vintage is different and that’s what I love about it! I get to use my creativity, have to number crunch, problem solve, think outside the box, work with people from all walks of life, spend time outside, meet production deadlines, the list goes on….”


“Pale straw in colour, this sauvignon blanc has a complex nose of gooseberry, passionfruit, crushed herbs and a touch of sweat. The zesty palate is packed full of tropical fruit flavours, has a delicious line of salinity, grainy texture and a refreshingly dry finish.”

What was important in making this award-winning wine?

“Definitely the picking date. We need to capture the fruit on the vine when it is looking at its best. If you can get that right, the rest is easy.”

Food Pairing?

“Try with fresh seafood or light, seasonal salads.”

How long can you shelf your winning bottle of wine for?

“A good 3 to 5 years, if you can hold onto it for that long!”

Who would your wine appeal to?

“It will appeal to a wine drinker that is searching for a wine that is concentrated, delicious and approachable. The perfect drop to enjoy whilst having a good time with delicious food and great company. And the bonus is it over delivers in taste and quality.”

How would you describe this wine to someone who's never had this grape varietal/blend before?

“This wine is a classic example of what makes Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc so unique and memorable – it is upfront, concentrated and bursting with flavours of ripe tropicals, crushed green herbs with a juicy, mouth-watering acidity.”

If you could do a wine bottle swap with any winery in NZ or the world, which winery and wine would it be with?

“Mmmmm, where shall I start?! I would love to swap a bottle with a winery from my home country of South Africa, and it needs to be a wine from a new producer I’ve never had before. There are just so many exciting new and innovative producers in SA at the moment and we can’t always get these wines here in NZ. So, that will be a treat.”


Founders: Dave Clouston

Current Owner: Dave and Pip Clouston

Winemaker: Sanna Stander

Location: Marlborough, New Zealand

Wine varietals produced:


Pinot Gris

Sauvignon Blanc


Marlborough Pinot Noir

Central Otago Pinot Noir

Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet