Gisborne New Zealand Map
Quite separately from these multi-regional companies, a group of smaller enterprises have been launched in Auckland. People with knowledge and experience of winegrowing started most of them. They chose interesting and attractive places to live, permanently or at weekends, and to plant vines. Waiheke Island in the Hauraki
Gulf, a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, was one such destination. The Matakana area, less than an hour’s drive northeast of Auckland and also overlooking the Hauraki Gulf, was another. Both destinations proved to have the natural environments where varieties of Vitis vinifera grew well on mainly clay soils. Moreover, in both places these vineyards and wineries have associated winegrowing with fine food and high culture. Sculpture, art, and crafts flourish alongside neatly trimmed vines on north-facing slopes.
Serendipitously, some of the varieties native to Burgundy and Bordeaux grew as well here as in any other region of New Zealand, apart perhaps from Hawke’s Bay. On Waiheke Island, Stephen White of Stonyridge Vineyard established an enviable reputation for the Larose label, while in Matakana, Jim Vuletic captured an international following for Providence – both of which are Bordeaux blends although the mix of varieties going into them is different. Wines from each of these enterprises have demonstrated that with the right sites, older vines and appropriate viticulture, grapes can be grown and wine made that sits comfortably alongside some of the best wines in the world. Much of this wine is sold offshore.
Gisborne New Zealand Map Photo Gallery
Some of the smaller vineyards and wineries that previously dominated Henderson-Oratia leapfrogged to other locations on the northwestern urban periphery of Auckland. The Collards were among the first to do so when they established their Rothesay vineyard east of Waimauku and within reasonable access of their winery and Shanty Block vineyard in Lincoln Road. Soljans of Lincoln Road successfully relocated to the largely rural belt between Brighams Creek and Kumeu. Their winery on this site seems almost incidental to the large cafe and reception centre that also serves as an outlet for their wines.
West Brook Winery, operated by winemaker Anthony Ivicevich and family, was formerly located on the ridge facing the Babich winery on land that is now occupied by housing. It has re-established on the hills east of Kumeu close to Riverhead Forest. Like many Auckland wineries, it now sources grapes from other parts of New Zealand as well as locally and Anthony has established a stellar reputation as a contract winemaker for other enterprises in the district.
The Babich winery persists in Babich Road, Oratia, with a small area in vines adjoining the winery, although it sources almost all of its grapes from Marlborough and other regions. Its current CEO David Babich, son of Peter and Lisa, refers to their enterprise as an ‘asset company’, alluding to the astute way that the family has bought and sold land as demand for housing in the vicinity of the winery has escalated. At Artisan Wines, Rex Sunde and family have been particularly active in encouraging Auckland residents to visit them at Parrs Cross Road, Oratia, where their organic vineyard and boutique winery and restaurant have a regular weekend craft and produce market with musical entertainment.