Te Mata Estate
English immigrant John Chambers established a large pastoral station at the foot of Te Mata Peak in 1854, hence the name. This is in Hawke's Bay on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. A homestead and stables were built in the early 1870's. It was John's third son Bernard who in 1892 planted 15 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, in three parcels across the Havelock Hills above the homestead on north-facing slopes; the Chardonnay in the Elston Vineyard is the oldest in New Zealand. He converted the original stables to ferment and age wines, the first of which was produced in 1896, and those three sites planted by Bernard in 1892 are still in use today, producing wines with great power, balance and elegance. In 1909 Te Mata's wines won Gold Medals at the International Expo and in competitions in Canada, Japan and Britain, giving an idea of the accolades to come, and by 1913 Te Mata was New Zealand's largest wine producer. The Chambers family sold the estate in 1919, and Te Mata Vineyards (TMV) was founded at this time. The Temperance Movement in New Zealand during the 1930's caused many wineries to close, but Te Mata just managed to carry on. It was to have two other owners before the Buck and Morris families bought it in 1974 and began to significantly develop the estate, gradually nursing the old vines back to health and planting new vineyards. In the 1980's they engaged New Zealand architect Sir Ian Athfield to modernise and extend the winery complex, which he did in a fabulous Art Deco and Spanish Mission style. In the early 1990's the Woodthorpe Terraces were acquired and planted to the north-east of Havelock North, and two additional vineyards in the Bridge Pa Triangle west of Hastings. In 1994 the Te Mata Character Zone became the first protected wine area in New Zealand, recognised on the basis of its unique wine-growing heritage value. Te Mata remains family-owned, today directed by John Buck and his three sons, Jonathon, Nick and Tobias. Te Mata have hand-picked grapes exclusively from their own Hawke's Bay vineyards, and produced small-batch wines on site in their original winery buildings since inception. They now cultivate eight grape varieties: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, Gamay, Syrah and Merlot. They are committed to sustainability and are part of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand program, among the first vineyards to be accredited in 1995, followed by the winery in 2005. Te Mata's flagship wine is the legendary Coleraine, first produced in 1982, a magnificent Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend, considered by many to be New Zealand's finest red wine and named after the Buck family's ancestral home in Northern Ireland. By 2014 this wine was setting records as New Zealand's most expensive collectors wine. In 2016 Decanter named it a “Wine Legend”, the only New Zealand wine ever to achieve this accolade, leading to Te Mata being named New Zealand's “First Growth”, considering Coleraine to be comparable to Bordeaux's top wines. A new state-of-the-art red wine fermentation room has been completed and Te Mata now has the oldest and the newest winery capabilities in New Zealand. You don't have to break the bank to enjoy Te Mata's wines, the intense multilayered Elston Chardonnay has immaculate poise. The Bullnose Syrah, named after the famous Morris car of the same nickname, is utter class, and one of New Zealand's finest Syrahs. The barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc Cape Crest is simply stunning, and the Awatea Bordeaux style wine, made from the same blend of grapes (although in different percentages) as Coleraine will impress with the same sheer quality as their entire range. Te Mata is New Zealand's oldest winery to be in continuous operation - it is a National Treasure!