Our Name "Paulownia"
When we named our vineyard Paulownia Estate we had two reasons in mind:
The first was in recognition of the magnificent Paulownia trees that overlook the vineyard from the river terrace to the east.
The second is a play on our surname – Paul.
The Paulownia Tree
The Paulownia tree originates in Eastern Asia (China, Japan and Korea) and grows to about 15m in height. The Paulownia is deciduous and in spring, before the leaves appear, it produces dense clusters of pale violet flower spikes not unlike foxgloves. After flowering, large heart-shaped leaves appear which make the Paulownia an elegant shade tree during summer. The distinctly non-Asian name probably originated in Russia where the tree was introduced. The Paulownia is also known as the Princess Tree or Empress Tree.
In their native Asian region the Paulownia is grown not only for its beauty, but also for its timber which is used primarily in furniture making. Tradition has it that in Korea a Paulownia is planted to celebrate the birth of a daughter and, at her coming-of-age, the timber is used to make her dowry chest or glory box. Here in New Zealand the Paulownia grows more quickly than in its native homeland so the timber it produces is softer and has little commercial value.