About us

Economic and environmental sustainability are our driving principals. These practices are about giving life back to the soil and managing the vineyard as a balanced sustainable unit. This includes organic practices such as recycling through composts and liquid manures and increasing plant bio diversity.

Using the biodynamic farming and gardening calendar, the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets and stars are recognized and worked where possible. This commitment has been recognised and rewarded recently when we won the Hills Harvest and Gallagher Innovation Awards.

The result is beautiful, clean, true wines that have not impacted negatively on the soil as they have been crafted.

Our wines and vineyard

Our wine collection reflects the nature of our environment and includes harmonious aromatics; Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Gris and strapping, vibrant Pinot Noir.

Our 31-hectare single vineyard is located on ancient free-draining soils and our inter-row crop rotation maintains healthy soils full of life and biodiversity. Our seven year crop rotation maintains healthy soils and vines. Every seven years, one row in seven will be planted in a variety of plants and wild flowers. These flowers, such as buckwheat, lupins, stinging nettles, dandelions and yarrow provide crucial protection to the vineyard as they attract beneficial insects that will kill off unwanted pests and predators that can destroy the vines, leaves or roots. 

Our People

Kohei Koyama, Director, Winegrower

After graduating from the University of Tokyo with a law degree, Kohei worked 11 years for financial sectors in Tokyo and London, where he became passionate in wine.

To pursue his dream of winemaking, his family moved to New Zealand, where he studied at Lincoln University, which is renowned as the oldest agricultural school in the Southern Hemisphere. There, he graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in Viticulture and Oenology with Distinction.

He worked in Russian River valley of California and Muddy Water/Greystone in Waipara to gain experience and knowledge, and found an ideal vineyard in a permacultual village to look after near Nelson.

He values working alongside the land and he has gained attention as a winegrower who manages the whole process from grape growing to winemaking himself At URLAR, he oversees the grape growing, winemaking and marketing as he delivers quality wines and the story of URLAR to the customers.

Jannine

Winemaker

Jannine spent some time working in high-end restaurants and for food importers in Australia and NZ. Given the opportunity in 2003 to work a harvest in Hawkes Bay she then became enticed with wine growing. Several years were spent working international harvests in Burgundy, California, South Africa and Oregon while working at Ata Rangi in Martinborough as Assistant Winemaker. She completed her Post Graduate in Oenology and then left to work in Burgundy for the season of 2012 at Thibault Liger-Beliar. On return she moved to the South Island and spent three years at Pegasus Bay before heading to Australia to gain knowledge on methode champenoise wine production at Deviation Road, and returned to NZ and the Wairarapa where in 2017 she joined the team at URLAR.

Jannine and her partner have a block of land which they intend to build on and have a permaculture-based farm off the grid. She is a firm supporter of organic and local foods, community and hunting for deer and pigs. She is dedicated to producing high quality wines for URLAR and committed to evolving the style as the vines age.

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Bevan

Viticulturist

A born and bred local. Bevan spent 4 years overseas before returning to study at Massey University, after graduating and working in finance decided to changed tack and work outdoors leading to him introduction to vineyards and viticulture. Subsequently he studied at EIT in the Hawkes Bay and graduating with a Certificate in Viticulture.

After working and managing in many different vineyards throughout the Wairarapa mostly through contract managing and using mostly conventional practices he joined URLAR in 2012 and have embraced organic management.

Gained a Certificate in Applied Organics and Biodynamics at Taruna College in Hawkes Bay. Committed to continue to produce high quality fruit through organic and biodynamic practices for URLAR.

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Karen

Logistics/Office Manager

Originally from the Wairarapa, Karen studied International Marketing with Japanese language at Waikato University and worked at Wilson & Horton in Auckland to gain experience in Media and Marketing. Other employment in New Zealand includes ENZA, Nelson (now Turners & Growers), bringing Living Earth Compost to Wellington and assisting with the implementation of SAP for the Fonterra Dairy Cooperative (Hamilton).

Karen & her partner Ben have 2 girls; Willow and Poppy and too many pets to name them all. They moved back to the Wairarapa 11 years ago to be near family and soon after Karen began working at URLAR. Ben & Karen recently purchased 9 acres of land in the country, where they plan to build a straw bale home and live a sustainable off-grid lifestyle implementing Organic and Biodynamic principles. 

At URLAR Karen helps get our beautiful wine from the winery to the customer – bottling, labelling, shipping and documentation. She also compiles various reports, pays staff and often delivers wine to our local customers. She enjoys the staff BBQ’s, seaweed gathering at the beach and getting out of the office now and again to make compost!

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Evie

Assistant Winemaker

Evie moved to NZ from Scotland in 2004 where she settled with her family on a sheep and beef farm in Hawkes Bay. Living in the Bay sparked a passion for the wine industry so after finishing school she enrolled herself in a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology degree at Lincoln University. While studying she worked at various vineyards in Central Otago and Hawkes Bay.

Evie worked her first harvest at Yealands Estate in 2016. Wanting to gain as much experience and knowledge as possible took herself over to Bordeaux to experience old world winemaking. After returning to NZ she took a cellar hand job in Hawkes Bay at Sacred Hill winery. In 2018 Evie went over to Europe again and worked in wineries in both Portugal and England. Here she gained an appreciation for organic and low intervention winemaking.

Wanting to continue with organics in a small tight-knit team, Evie joined URLAR in February 2019.

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Martin

Sales & Marketing

Martin Carrington looks after the Sales and Marketing for URLAR – with an emphasis on growing URLAR’s export sales. Martin’s wine and food career began during his post-studies OE travels, when he was suddenly given responsibility for an English restaurant’s wine list. He took the opportunity whilst traveling to visit many of the world’s winemaking regions and for him this turned wine from a hobby into a career.

With experience judging in wine, cheese and restaurant competitions, owning a wine & food retail store, part-owning a successful Ponsonby Road restaurant, brands management, sales management and Public Relations, Martin has worked in almost every facet of wine and food hospitality over the last three decades.

When not drinking wine, Martin can be found whispering words of encouragement to the family’s lambs, chopping wood, fishing or diving off the Wairarapa coast (not necessarily in that order) He also used to travel a lot!…

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Tess

Wairarapa Sales Manager

Tess looks after the Wairarapa Sales at URLAR. She is all about good relationships & working together to promote the fantastic products we produce here in the Wairarapa.

Born in the Wairarapa she was involved from a young age helping on the family vineyard “Bloomfields”. She then persued her studies & qualified in Textile & Design. She began her own business “Tessa Bloomfield Design” in her early 20’s specialised in one off made to measure mens shirts.

Tess has had many years of experience in many aspects of the wine industry including Cellar Door Management, Marketing and Sales for about 14 years. She has a huge passion for her family, wine & food, the arts, design, fitness & wellness.

Favouite quote: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love” Mother Teresa

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