Meet James Leary, the man behind Snapper Rock

James Leary

James Leary and two local Marlborough friends planted out 6.5. h.a. on the Ward Valley Estate Vineyard in 2008 in the southern most growing region of Marlborough which is Ward in the Southern Awatere Valley. The site was selected for its deep clay soil structures and elevated hill side location allowing for prefect growing conditions for Pinot Noir and grassy lemony styles of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The first commercial vintage of Snapper Rock was 2011 and from then we have grown the brand to produce only 4,000 cases of Sauvignon Blanc and 1,000 cases of Pinot Noir making Snapper Rock a perfect example of cooler climate single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

The winemaking is simple – we employ modern techniques with traditional craftsmanship. We hand tend all our vineyards and the grapes are picked early morning. The reason for this is to retain the fresh acidity, if we pick when its too warm the balance of acids are lower and sugars are higher which will effect the finish in the wine – Good wine is made in the vineyard.

We offer a range of wines with freshness and breathtaking clarity. They are pure and true – offering a vibrant reflection of Marlborough and the personality of each vintage.

Snapper Rock wines are focused on delivering the fruit driven styles of wine that has made Marlborough famous, while the cool climate of the most southern valley of the Marlborough region adds something special not found anywhere else in Marlborough

We have developed a long term strategy, which is both fair and sustainable, for present and future generations.

To make our wines we have leveraged off the local knowledge of two of New Zealands most talented young wine makers David Clouston from Marlborough and Hayden Penney from Hawkes Bay. Using fresh fruit driven styles of wine making pioneered in the new world to create wines that reflect the varieties best suited to that region of New Zealand. 

Sustainability lets us add value in a number of meaningful ways to the wine industry, the country and future generations. From our perspective, sustainability extends far beyond the vineyard and winery. Our entire supply chain — from sourcing raw materials through to selecting contractors factor in to our sustainability. We are true to our land and protect our island with integrity. We are responsible with our resources and how we use them to make sure future generations can carry on doing what we are doing, including leaving the legacy of fishing at Snapper Rock.