Wayne Crosby, Riversun
John Clark arrived in New Zealand in 1875 from Scotland and by the early twentieth century had at various times developed or farmed the Ngatapa block, the Opou Station, Te Arai Station and Waipaoa Station, and been Chairman of Cook County.
By the mid-twentieth century Annie’s father John William Clark and mother Dorothy were living on and farming Opou Station. At the time, it carried over 9000 sheep and over 1000 cattle. Like many owners with some land on the Gisborne Plain, John had diversified into grapes in the late 1960s as a grower for the large Auckland wine companies. James Millton is a West Coaster brought up near the Franz Josef Glacier.
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Together, James and Annie operate Millton Vineyards on land carved off from the Ngatapa block and the Opou Station on the Gisborne Plain and surrounding hills.
After James Millton left school he acted on his early wish to get involved with wine by accepting a position as a cadet with Montana in the mid-1970s that included an introduction to the viticulture, winemaking and marketing sides of the company.
Following this three-year stint, he travelled to Europe and did vintages in Burgundy and Germany. Having completed her diploma in horticulture at Lincoln College, Annie was in England extending her practical experience as a florist in London. She also did a vintage in Burgundy at Chorey-les-Beaune, across the Route Nationale 74 from Aloxe-Corton, and two vintages in Germany. Add these experiences to the vintage they both did in the Barossa before leaving for Europe and their commitment to learning about the vine and wine is clear.