The Mud House story began as an adventure. Founded by a couple who embarked on a sailing tour of the world, they stopped early on their way in New Zealand. They fell in love and decided to purchase land and plant some vineyards.
After preparing the land and planting vines, they used the local earth to build their home. This home became emblematic of their mission, Today, over twenty years later, the Mud House team remain as in touch with the land as the original name suggests.
The single vineyard wines are an expression of vineyard and vintage within the pristine single vineyards of the South Island.
The aim is to provide the best representation of the distinctive character of site. These wines, crafted in limited quantities are a true expression of the best fruit from these vineyards in a given vintage.
Representing all three of the regions from which fruit is sourced, these wines are designed to reward with cellaring. Refined, textural wines from our single vineyards in key varietal growing regions - Marlborough, Central Otago and the Waipara Valley.
The key Single Vineyard varietals include the Woolshed Sauvignon Blanc and Claim 431 Pinot Noir.
The Mud House single vineyard wines hone in on specific patches within New Zealand’s premier South Island wine regions.
The winemakers give a profound and definitive voice to the sub-regions in the glass, by delivering distinctive and alluring expressions of signature varietals.
The Woolshed Vineyard is situated in the Upper Wairau Valley, Marlborough, west of Blenheim in the shelter of a steep sided triangular hill called the 'Delta'. This ‘Delta’ feature protects the vineyard from the frosts in spring.
Named after the original Woolshed building, fruit from this vineyard goes into our Single Vineyard Woolshed Sauvignon Blanc.
The Claim 431 Vineyard is in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago. Once a gold mining region, Bendigo is framed by ancient, dry hills and fanned by westerly winds. Free draining loam soils over schist gravel make it a natural home for growing outstanding Pinot Noir. Soils formed from glaciers grinding up the schist rocks to smaller gravels and finer particles. Soils are rich in minerals & free draining. Climate is the most continental in New Zealand with cold winters and hot dry summers. Huge diurnal temperature variation, adds to the structure and fruit concentration of the wine. Long growing seasons and summer heat deliver beautiful flavours wrapped in bright pure red and dark fruit aromas.
Mud House winemaking is about expressing the vineyard in the most respectful way to maintain its character, vibrancy and balance. This means knowing when to push the boundaries and when to pull back.
The Single Vineyard wines are made with fruit sourced from our hero vineyards across the South Island.
These wines are refined and textural in style, but are a true expression of the vintage conditions and the vineyard from which they are sourced.
The Mud House aim is that no matter where you are in the world, when you open a bottle of Mud House wine you will taste the adventure.
Like many Kiwis, when he was younger Cleighten chose to travel to Europe, fuelled by a desire to see what was on the other side of the world; and an innate sense of adventure and fun.
When he returned to New Zealand, he chose a career which would ensure more travel in the future, completing his Bachelor in viticulture and oenology before setting off again to the northern hemisphere to work vintages in France (Chambolle-Musigny), Germany (Rheingau) and Cyprus.
After a decade of winemaking, Cleighten’s core focus remains unchanged, “to make the best wine possible!” He believes learning is the key, both experimentally and from others. Having a job where you only get one chance a year to perfect your art, means that winemaking remains challenging and a continual evolving process.
Cleighten and his wife Caroline are very proud of their young family (three daughters). He spends his time enjoying the outdoor lifestyle which is synonymous with life in the South Island of New Zealand: camping, fishing and playing cricket in a local “serious/social” club team, along with brewing craft beer and picking up the guitar when time permits.
When you meet Cleighten you can still see the spark of the young traveller with a wicked sense of humour that once played cricket with the UK's Prime Minister, and other sporting legends.