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News at Ash Ridge




Leith Ashworth
18 July 2024 | Leith Ashworth

The Wine Party of the Season - Ash Ridge’s 2024 Bordeaux Bash

And what a party it was! On July 12th we held our first ever Bordeaux Bash at the beautiful St Georges Restaurant in Havelock North. It was an evening of true decadence, with time spent tasting thoughtfully crafted wines that showcase the best of Hawke’s Bay and Bordeaux, and savouring equally impressive dishes.

Chef Francky and Leith pulled out all the stops and truly curated a pairing menu that was harmonious, with the flavours, aromas, and textures of both the food and the wine complementing each other perfectly. The night's menu was a true reflection of both businesses philosophy — real food and wine tastes better — which means every dish and bottle curated has an emphasis on fresh ingredients, sustainable practices, unwavering quality & local provenance.

The first course paid homage to the ever so important varietal Sauvignon Blanc. Here attendees sampled a vertical tasting flight of three wines of varying ages: Junction 2010 Free Run Sauvignon Blanc, Chateau du Seuil 2022 Graves Blanc, and our 2023 Ash Ridge Estate Sauvignon Blanc. It was impressive to see both the regional and vintage differences amongst the flight; not very often does one get to try a Sauvignon Blanc that is 14 years old! And the Chateau du Seuil 2022 Graves Blanc was certainly a crowd pleaser, with it being remarkably smooth and flagrant.

The Sauvignon Blancs were paired perfectly with three bite size horderves; crispy chicken, prawn jelly, and tempura pickled turnips and were the perfect start to the night's pairings menu:

  • Pork Cheek with apple puree and cider jus paired with our 2021 Estate Merlot
  • Crusted Salmon with beetroot and red wine jus paired with our 2021 Premium Malbec merlot Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Beef Fillet topped with slow cooked brisket, potato press and sauteed carrots paired with our 2021 Premium Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dessert was amongst the favourite pairings of the night where our palates were delighted with two beautiful dessert wines–The Winston NV Ruby Syrah and Junction’s 2009 Late Charge–and a caramel tart accompanied by raspberry sorbet and a chocolate mousse. It was during this late night aperitif that Leith and John entertained everyone with plenty of rugby and wine stories, but more importantly, about the history of honey mead… 

Our 2024 Bordeaux Bash was a night that will most certainly be remembered and is an event collaboration that will hopefully continue for years to come, as it is an event that not only celebrates the best of the bay, but also our spectacular wine club members. If you are interested in learning about how to become a wine club member or are interested in attending more wine events such as these, visit our club membership page on our website or give us a call. For our current members and especially those who came out for the day (we hope that you truly enjoyed yourself as much as we did. Keep an eye out for our upcoming wine events: a meet and greet in Auckland and our Salute to Sparkling! More details will be headed your way soon.


Time Posted: 18/07/2024 at 8:10 AM Permalink to The Wine Party of the Season - Ash Ridge’s 2024 Bordeaux Bash Permalink
Leith Ashworth
6 July 2024 | Leith Ashworth

Wine Pairing 101







Just like there is a craft to making wine, there is also a craft to pairing it to the right food. The schematics of which may seem daunting, but most of the time it's as easy as drinking wine while eating food.

Here at Ash Ridge, we have the luxury of wine tasting alongside award-winning head chef and owner of St Georges, Francky Godinho. Here, their menus are a reflection of their food philosophy — real food tastes better — which means every dish has an emphasis on fresh ingredients, organic veggies, sustainable practices, unwavering quality & local provenance. 

It's a very similar philosophy to our style of winemaking, where our small team of winemakers strive to surprise you with a large number of different, quality varieties, and to produce  fresh, vibrant, sustainable and highly acclaimed wines.

The collaboration between the two businesses is a match made in heaven, with both Leith and Francky providing wine pairing expertise we are always excited to learn from. Their main philosophy is that great food and wine pairings showcase a balance of characters seen both in the wine and in the dish components.

And while this sounds complex, it's not…once you understand the first few basics! So let's dive in.


When you are first trying to decide on how to pair a food with a wine, think first of what it is. Is it red, white, sparkling, or a dessert?

Whites generally pair best with lighter meats, including fish and chicken, while reds often pair well with more intense meats, such as steak, lamb, or venison. Here, the intensity of the wine most often corresponds to the intensity of the flavours.

It is also important to take into consideration the balance of acidity and sweetness.  Do you want the wine to balance the sweetness of the food with its higher acidity, or do you want it to have the same flavour intensity. A perfect combination we find is St Georges Chocolate caramel tart—adorned with chocolate malt crumb, mandarin, and coffee ice cream—paired with The Winston NV Ruby Syrah—our Ruby Syrah that is sweet, exuberant, & friendly, just like Winston, the Ashworth family's beloved labrador.

Similarly to acid and sweetness, there is a balance between fattiness and astringency. A general rule of thumb is that the more fatty the food, the more astringent the wine. Think St Georges Butternut Gnocchi, which is adorned with gorgonzola cream, chorizo , pear salad, and crispy parmesan–paired with our 2020 Premium Malbec; a vibrant wine with aromatics of juicy forest fruits, violets & spice. 

The other important consideration you must make before pairing a wine to a dish, is to look at its flavour profiles. To ensure that they complement each other and don’t compete for attention. Below is a guide to pairing some basic dishes to some of our favourite varieties and styles based on their complementary aroma and flavour profiles.

Sparkling Wines:

  • Bubbly, refreshing, and fruity.
  • It pairs well with salty foods such as potato chips, caviar, and seafood.

Sauvignon Blanc:

  • Vibrant, zesty, and highly aromatic.
  • It pairs well with tart and tangy foods such as goat cheese and lemon tarts.


  • Floral, rich, and oily.
  • It pairs well with Asian foods such as pad thai, green papaya salad, and sweet and sour pork.


  • Creamy, rich, and zesty.
  • It pairs well with rich sauces and fatty seafood. 


  • Flirty, fruit-forward, easy drinking.
  • It pairs well with almost anything! A perfect wine for tapas.


  • Warm, spiced, and floral.
  • It pairs well with sweeter foods such as barbecued meats and chocolate.


  • Bold, fruit-forward, and peppery.
  • It pairs well with spicy foods such as Penne Arrabbiata.


With all of this new knowledge, it's time for you to go out and experiment. Make an unlikely pairing and see if you enjoy it. At the end of the day, it truly comes down to drinking what you enjoy with the food you love. If you already know what types of wine you love, join our club, order online, or visit our cellar door. 



Leith Ashworth
7 April 2024 | Leith Ashworth

It was all smiles at our Annual Wine Club Harvest Day!

It was all smiles here at Ash Ridge on March 24th, when we held our annual Wine Club Harvest Day event. We spent the day hanging out with some of our fabulous wine club members; picking Chardonnay, tasting wines, eating delicious food, and listening to John and Leith's MANY stories...

Harvest day, quite frankly, is one of our favourite days of the year--except for when it's the last day of Vintage--as we get to actively engage with our club members and take them behind the scenes to see the beginning of the grape-to-glass process. There's nothing more special than introducing people to what we love to do: crafting delicious wines, especially when we get to showcase a little bit of the mess, chaos, and excitement that goes with it.

We are incredibly stoked with how the day’s attendees did, with them picking 17 rows of our Clone 15 Chardonnay, equating to just over 2.2 tonnes! A fantastic result from everyone's hard work.

The day was not all hard work and no play, as we got to sample some delicious juices, wines, and foods. The morning started off with a customary "pickers smoko" with freshly baked pastries, coffee, and tea. After a few hours of work, we headed down to the winery and sampled the 2024 ferments, tasting a variety of Chardonnay, Viognier, and Rose juices. After a fun but informative breakdown of the revival process from Leith and Thalia, we headed back into the vines for a picture-perfect French country spread. Lemon-roasted chicken, roast vegetable salad, cold roasted beef, fresh focaccia, and Greek salad lined the table, with our dessert barrel's nearby.

The luxurious spread was also accompanied by a special tasting of our unreleased, newly bottled 2023 Premium Chardonnay, 2021 Bordeaux blends, 2022 Estate Syrah, and 2020 Premium Syrah.


Our Harvest Day 2024 event was an absolutely stellar day, and we are so happy to have enjoyed it with a small portion of our wine club members. We especially appreciate those who made the trip up from Canterbury and down from Auckland just to attend! It is always lovely getting to know the Ash Ridge Wine Club family, as it constantly pushes us to ensure we are producing the best wines for you to enjoy.  

Our annual harvest day event is a wine club member only event. If you are interested in learning about how to become a wine club member or are interested in attending more wine events such as these, visit our club membership page on our website (/Join-Our-Club) or give us a call. For our current members, and especially those who came out for the day (we hope you had as much fun as we did), keep an eye out for our winter wine event's; a wine blending afternoon in the cellar and a wine dinner! More details will be headed your way soon.


Time Posted: 07/04/2024 at 6:20 AM Permalink to It was all smiles at our Annual Wine Club Harvest Day! Permalink
Leith Ashworth
13 November 2023 | Leith Ashworth

Our place, and your place: Ash Ridge named Hawke’s Bay’s Cellar Door of the Year!

November marks two years since we took a chance on purchasing Ash Ridge Winery, and we’re so proud that we’re able to celebrate by being named Cellar Door of the Year at this year’s Bayleys Hawke’s Bay Wine Awards!

It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride since we took charge. We’ve tackled the impacts of COVID-19 and Cyclone Gabrielle; we’ve been certified as an organic vineyard (one of a handful in the region); and we’ve been making big moves to experiment with producing an exciting variety of wines—wines that we’re winning (more) awards for. On top of that, we’re building a cellar door experience that’s young, fresh, and loved by all in the community. That’s our dream, and we couldn’t be happier to be named Hawke’s Bay’s Cellar Door of the Year. 

As you might already know, we’re a truly local family business with three young children at home in Maraekakaho. Grape to glass, we’re run from the ground up with our roots firmly planted in Hawke’s Bay. We’re a small team, and we think our 'all in' approach is something pretty special to Hawke's Bay. Not only does Leith run the place, he’s our head winemaker, grows the grapes, bottles the wine, hosts events, runs tastings, flips pizza, farms our animals... and the list continues! That’s why your support genuinely means the world to us!

Our community is at our heart, and we’re working hard to build something that we’re hugely proud of. So, whether you’re a wine connoisseur searching for a new favourite tipple, a group of friends keen for an afternoon of entertainment in the sun, or parents who want a wine and some peace while the kids enjoy pizza and play on the playground (we know what that’s like!), we’re here for you - and we want Ash Ridge to feel like home.

Our wholehearted thanks go to all of you who have supported us on our journey over the past two years. Whether you’re part of our Ash Ridge Wine Club, have come in to see us for lunch or a tasting, or have purchased a bottle or two from our cellar door shop, we couldn’t have done it without you. It was fantastic to celebrate together at our Food Truck Friday birthday celebration; let’s do it again soon.

So, what’s next for Ash Ridge? We have a huge summer planned of new release wine and events for our community. As well as that, we’re making some highly requested changes to our Wine Club… watch this space! 


Ash Ridge is a labour of love, and our wines are dedicated to our family. Pop in to see us soon, and see what all the fuss is about. We’d love to have you!


Leith and Tracy 


Thanks to Bayleys and our award sponsor, Jenny Nilsson House of Travel


Leith Ashworth
18 October 2023 | Leith Ashworth

Ash Ridge Wines Awarded Gold

We’re incredibly proud of the wine we produce here at Ash Ridge, and we hope to surprise you with the range and quality of varieties we offer.

As a small, organic, family vineyard, our wine has taken its journey from grape to glass right here on our land, with every drop being handcrafted with care by our small team on site.

And that’s why, it makes it even more special that a large number of our wines have been awarded gold, silver and bronze across the Bayleys Hawke’s Bay Wine Awards and New Zealand International Wine Awards, over the last few weeks!

And to top that great news off, some of you will know that Leith, our owner and head-winemaker, is also head-winemaker at his family vineyard, Junction Wines, and a stream of our wines there were also picked as some of the best of the bunch!

Many of these wines are available to purchase online or at our cellar door, with a few special picks being selected for November Wine Club. This includes our gold winning 2023 Premium Riesling which is extremely limited, and available only to Wine Club members. So if you want to try it, contact us to join Wine Club now, before it’s too late.

To join the Ash Ridge Wine Club, click here (/Join-Our-Club)

To head to our online store, click here (/Wines/Estate)


Thank you to the judges! Our full list of award winning wines is below:


Bayleys Hawke’s Bay Wine Awards 2023

Ash Ridge Winery

2023 Estate Sauvignon Blanc - Gold
2023 Premium Riesling - Gold
2023 Premium Viognier - Silver
2022 Estate Pinot Gris - Silver
2022 Premium Chardonnay - Silver
2023 Estate Chardonnay - Bronze
2023 Estate Pinot Gris - Bronze

Junction Wines

2021 Corner Post Chardonnay - Silver
2022 Pastime Pinot Gris - Silver
2023 Engaged Rose - Silver
2022 Persistence - Silver
2022 Runaway Riesling – Silver


NZ International Wine Show Awards 2023

Ash Ridge Winery

Ash Ridge Premium Riesling 2023- Gold
Ash Ridge Premium Chardonnay 2022- Bronze
Ash Ridge Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2023- Bronze
Ash Ridge Premium Viognier 2023- Bronze
Ash Ridge Estate Pinot Gris 2022- Bronze
Ash Ridge Estate Rose 2023- Bronze
Ash Ridge Premium Malbec Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2021- Bronze
Ash Ridge Estate Syrah 2019- Bronze

Junction Wines

Junction Body and Soul Pinot Noir 2021- Gold
Junction Corner Post Chardonnay 2021- Silver
Junction Runaway Riesling 2022- Silver
Junction Possession Pinot Noir 2020- Silver
Junction Pastime Pinot Gris 2022- Bronze
Junction Engaged Rose 2023- Bronze

Time Posted: 18/10/2023 at 7:21 AM Permalink to Ash Ridge Wines Awarded Gold Permalink
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