Located on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand.
- ★DADA / Creative / Unique / Modern / Professionalism / Small Luxury
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David Ramonteu is from a winemaking background; he grew up in the mountainous Pyrenean farming and winegrowing region, where his family has an estate, Domaine Cauhape in Jurancon. David graduated from Bordeaux with a Master’s degree (1998), before joining French wine research company Oenodev as a consultant, work that took him around the world – and to New Zealand. David now lives in New Zealand, working for wineries throughout the country as a wine consultant. His ongoing affiliation with Oenodev ensures he is kept abreast of new developments in wine technology.
New Zealand born Kate Galloway is chief winemaker for Alpha Domus winery. In addition, she works with David to produce wine under their labels, Dada and Alluviale. Kate had a career as a chef, including several years working in Europe, before returning home to pursue her love of wine, and her interest in New Zealand’s burgeoning wine industry. She has a Bachelor of Wine Science (1998) from EIT Hawkes Bay in association with Charles Sturt University, graduating with Academic Excellence.
Kate and David live by the sea in Hawkes Bay with their two young children, Gala and Saul, and a collection of ceramics, paintings, old cars and trinkets.
Founded in 2006, Dada Wines was established with the sole aim of creating unique, non-classifiable and exceptional wines.
Practices & Techniques
Complete prediction removes the human character of our lives. We would simply function and become machines. If the future held complete uncertainty we would not be able to function, we would be adrift with no sense of purpose.
What does this have to do with winemaking?
Crafting wine, you constantly need to make choices. Every one of your decisions has consequences on the evolution of your creation. If you intervene in such a way that you are 100% sure of the result, then you may make good wines but unlikely great wines. The world of processing and industrialisation is thus entered – a world where everything tastes the same. On the other hand, by total non-intervention (through ignorance or stupidity) the end result will most likely be a disaster. The wine will have no drive and lose its essence. We believe that the path to creating fine wine is to guide the wine in an informed and diligent manner, to provide a direction but to allow within this frame something unknown to occur. This is where the soul of fine wine is formed – 1/3rd, 2/3rds.
Our practises are chosen following these guidelines with a preference for those that steer towards finesse and complexity:
100% hand harvest
Triage (sorting) at the winery
Whole bunch and some skin contact for whites
Cold soak red and white
Indigenous fermentation when possible
Ageing on 100% gross lees
Design and use of special ‘cigar’ tanks
No chemical manipulation
No fining, minimal or no filtration
All red and some white made without Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
Manage redox potential (natural anti-oxidant properties) of wine
Use powerful tool of blending
For further detail on individual wines, please refer to tasting notes in the Resources section.
Estate Vineyards / AVA
It is this diversity that enables the region to successfully produce a wide range of varieties (cultivars). Further to this, particular varieties can show strong yet unique characteristics depending on the site.
We have identified distinguished sites within the sub-regions Gimblett Gravels, Mangatahi, the Triangle and Te Awanga characterised as follows:
Gimblett Gravels – dense, dramatic, high in colour and structure yet can be subtle and pretty.
The Triangle – generous fruit sweetness, strong savoury characters, moderate structure.
Mangatahi – best suited to white varieties. Citrus, floral and mineral characters with a steely backbone.
Te Awanga – aromatic, plush yet elegant.
Aside from the obvious criteria of ‘optimum ripeness’ the basis of our selection was that these sites provide us with floral and elegant characters for the red wine and floral, minerality, restraint and austerity for the whites.
Naturally, great wines will only result when the vines have received lavish care and attention. Precise pruning, de-budding, shoot and bunch thinning, hand leaf plucking and low yields are de rigueur.