Nautilus – an orderly miracle of nature

Names matter. ‘Nautilus’ no doubt speaks to this winery’s founder. It’s the name of a very ancient sea creature, sometimes referred to as a living fossil, whose shell exhibits a mesmerising and precise pattern, sometimes referred to as a logarithmic spiral. The illustrations below show a hemishell with camerae in a logarithmic spiral; and the photo of a section of a cut nautilus shell is by one Florian E Schell, no less.

An impressive miracle of nature – which has appealed to many artists and writers, and was a frequent trophy in nineteenth century middle class drawing rooms. The architecture of the new Antinori winery in Southern Tuscany, Le Mortelle, is also based on the spirals of shells. See:

At Nautilus in Marlborough we were shown around by Katy Prescott, marketing and sales manager, and Clive Jones, winemaker.

It was immediately apparent from the winery that orderliness and functionality matter. The technology that drives the tipping mechanism that can empty tons of grapeskins in 15 minutes at the touch of a button is spell-binding – in its simplicity and its impact. Simple pneumatics applied to the principles of levers…

Katy drove us out to the vineyards, passing their good-natured team of vineyard workers busy leaf stripping on a sunday morning as we climbed up to the higher rows above the valley floor. Deliberate grass planting is designed to help retain moisture from these dry slopes.


Another orderly miracle of nature – assisted by seriously hard work !

Katy and Clive took us to the wonderful Wairau River restaurant for lunch. Nautilus’ sparkling wine was terrific, and made a brilliant accompaniment to the chowder and the salmon salad. Thank you to Nautilus for its generous hospitality and to Katy and Clive for their time and company on a Sunday morning before a busy week.

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