Takaki is originally from Japan, but moved to New Zealand in 2003 after studying winemaking in California.
He took up the prestigious post of vineyard manager for Clos Henri, before buying a small 8 hectare block of organic vineyard in the Brancott Valley in 2010.
Unable to compete with the big guys on price or volume, he knew he’d have to find another way to stand out.
Takaki grew up in Tokyo drinking European wines, and loved their character and how each year they tasted nuanced and different. Something that’s impossible to find in a big commercial region like Marlborough.
He reckoned the difference was water - 99% of Marlborough vineyards are irrigated, while many old European vineyards get their special character from having to survive without regular water.
So the first thing he did with his new vineyard was turn off the taps. The vines, usually happily watered and producing lots of fruit, regressed and produced next to nothing for 3-4 vintages.
His neighbours told him he was crazy - he probably was. But Takaki kept the faith and kept the taps off.
And then something wonderful happened. The vines picked up and started producing incredible fruit. Fruit with complexity, purity and texture unlike anything he’d come across in Marlborough before.
Suddenly, renowned winemakers like Mike were queuing up for it - always a good sign. So Takaki decided to take some of the fruit and start making his own wine.