Our Story

Sea Level is a small team, built around a small father and son, along with a full time vineyard manager. We all love wine, we're all from different backgrounds, but we all have the same aim.

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Sam and Mike

Mike Smail (left) has a long and successful career in business and is our founding member. Although new to the wine industry, he has been quick to learn the many challenges a wine brand can offer, including label design, conducting wine tastings and mowing a vineyard.

Sam Smail (right) has a 'day-job' as the Chief Winemaker at Whitehaven in Marlborough. Infected by the winemaking bug, Sea Level lets Sam make wine, when he's not making wine for others. He has done vintages in New Zealand, Italy and California, and is also a senior wine judge.


The Vineyard

Sea Level comes from a small, family owned vineyard. The Vineyard is eight hectares and is situated along the Coastal Highway between Tasman and Motueka in the Nelson region. It starts at the shores of the Moutere Inlet and gently rises to overlook Tasman Bay and the Kina Peninsula.

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The vineyard is closely planted with Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir and a little Chenin Blanc. The soils comprise of heavy 'Moutere' clay and threaded with gravels. This largely negates the need for irrigation. The hill aspect creates more exposure to the sun and crucial sea breeze. This allows air movement through the canopy to minimize the risk of disease and bunch rot. 

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