• A slice of history: the link between Te Mata and Yarra Yering

    A slice of history: the link between Te Mata and Yarra Yering

    Huon Hooke, The Real Review

    It’s a rare event that the founder of Te Mata Estate winery in Hawke’s Bay, John Buck CNZM OBE, now in his 80s, calls me up on the phone. He wanted to tell me about his friendship with Dr Bailey Carrodus, the founder of Yarra Yering winery in the Yarra Valley.

    John had seen that I would be co-hosting an Australia versus New Zealand dinner for The Real Review in Sydney, which is to have a stunning climax in the form of two very high-scoring cabernet blends: Te Mata Estate 2022 Coleraine and Yarra Yering 2021 Dry Red Wine No. 1. The dinner is in a fortnight’s time.

    John wanted me to know that Bailey Carrodus was originally from Hastings, in Hawke’s Bay, which is near the Te Mata winery.

    “Bailey was a native of Hawke’s Bay and his cousin Tony Bone is still living here. I still see him from time to time. They still have a premium hardware and kitchen range business of many decades of history—F.L. Bone & Son, in Hastings, with branches in Queenstown and Auckland.”

    “Bailey went from the DSIR in New Zealand to its equivalent in Australia, the CSIRO, and later went on to establish Yarra Yering. On my trips to Melbourne, I used to visit James and Suzanne Halliday, first in South Yarra then at Coldstream Hills which they were then establishing next door to Yarra Yering. I used to act as a sort of courier taking things from Bailey to his family in New Zealand and vice versa. I remember one time I went to dinner at his house and he cooked roast wild duck, which he served on platters with a silver cloche over each duck, and he wore a green velvet smoking jacket. He was such a gentleman, softly spoken and elegant.”

    John admired Bailey and his cleverly thought-out winery, with its small one-tonne fermenters which he could move around with a pallet truck, so he could do all the winery work himself. “He gave me a few tips when I was setting up Te Mata.”

    John Buck retired quite a few years back but according to chief winemaker Phil Brodie he still pops in to the winery most days.

    It’s pure coincidence that both men were best known for their cabernet sauvignon-based Bordeaux blends, and serendipitous that these wines are to be served side by side at The Real Review’s Australia v New Zealand dinner on April 16.

  • Get the latest Coleraine Vintage Before It Sells Out

    Get the Latest Coleraine Vintage Before It Sells Out

    Te Mata Estate makes some fantastic vintages. Last year we recommended the Coleraine ’21, and it has since subsequently sold out (according to their site right now).

    Available March 1st is the Coleraine ’22, which according to early reviews maintains the prestige of its predecessor. Critic Huon Hooke of The Real Review, suggests that “Coleraine ’22 has tremendous persistence and wonderful structure. A great wine, that will richly reward long-term cellaring.”

    The Coleraine has always been a prestige piece for Te Mata, showcasing the greatness of their cabernet sauvignon on display at the highest level since the legendary ’82, the inaugural Coleraine. The ultimate statement of Te Mata’s multi-vineyard, sub-regional blending philosophy, Coleraine represents the natural harmony between cabernet vines and the soil and climate of Hawke’s Bay. Cabernet sauvignon dominant, supported by merlot and cabernet franc, Coleraine is recognised as one of the world’s great wines and a key chapter in the ever-growing New Zealand fine wine story.



    The Coleraine ’22 is a very special vintage as it coincides with Te Mata’s celebration of a half-century in business. New Zealand’s wine industry is a young one, but we easily hold our own against the old country. With the steady hands of John Buck, Michael Bennett (winemaker) and Michael Morris to present day – Nick Buck, Phil Brodie (winemaker) and Alastair Morris Te Mata has been a part of that story.

    To be the first to pick up a bottle when it releases and to stay up to date and get invited to exclusive events from Te Mata you should definitely join their Te Mata Club here.


    Isaac Taylor, M2



  • Toby Buck joins The Vitners Company

    A first for New Zealand

    Last week, together with a group of other new members, Toby Buck joined The Vintners’ Company in London, the very first New Zealander to be invited in the 661-year history of this institution. It was made even more special that Toby was able to share the occasion with John Buck, who was visiting from New Zealand to attend.
    The Vintners’ Company received its first Royal Charter in 1363 and is known as the Spiritual Home of the International Wine Trade. With its origins steeped in the history of the City of London and the import, regulation and sale of wine, the Company maintains strong links with the wine industry. The Vintners’ Company boasts a rich tapestry of historical connections with the wine trade, spanning centuries as one of London’s oldest and most influential livery companies. Its origins as a guild dedicated to regulating wine quality and trade in medieval times have evolved into a contemporary institution that continues to uphold and celebrate the traditions of the wine industry. Its current trade, social, charitable and educational interests, means the Company continues to play an important role in the 21st century. The Company’s principal charitable vehicle is the Vintners’ Foundation, which provides assistance to charities concerned with the relief of the poor, destitute and homeless in Greater London.


  • Vintage 2023 – New Frontiers

    2023 will be a lesson in “never count your chickens before they’re hatched.” It was a season that took Te Mata to new frontiers, and one we can’t wait to share with you.


    An extreme year setting new records on multiple fronts, 2023 was the:

    • longest growing season ever (budburst to harvest +10% longer than LTA)
    • Lowest yielding (-30% on LTA)
    • Smallest berry size ever
    • 2nd Hottest
    • Wettest
    • Longest harvest period (53 days)
    • Most expensive (+50% on LTA)

    and, had a historic cyclone (Gabrielle) in mid-February thrown into the mix.

    The extraordinary conditions produced some extreme results in the wines:

    The best performers were Cabernet Sauvignon, and its associated blending partners of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, (which all had stellar results, and will produce amongst the greatest wines ever at Te Mata Estate) within the red wines, and Sauvignon Blanc amongst the whites. Syrah was also very strong. It is important to note that all of these are late varieties which were unripe and unaffected when mid-February’s cyclone hit Hawke’s Bay. In fact, the last of these were harvested in mid-April, a full two months later.

    Unsurprisingly, the most difficult wines were from the earliest ripening varieties; Pinot Noir (Te Mata Estate did not harvest a single Pinot Noir grape in 2023), with Gamay Noir and Chardonnay also impacted (yields of these down more than 50% to achieve quality).

    Spring was early, following another very mild winter, with another early budburst repeating the early starts of the recent five years (if this trend continues, we may have to re-evaluate what we consider as early). The early start can mean increased frost fighting, but this year saw only a few frosty nights and no damage from any of these. At this point, the long-term weather forecasts were indicating a warm and wet “El Nino” season, and these conditions really began to manifest in the late spring and early summer, prompting significant canopy growth. Flowering was strong, with a record number of flower clusters suggesting a high-yielding harvest.  We responded by increasing planting of inter-row crops to extract soil moisture, opened up the vine canopies to the maximum extent with extensive shoot removal and full leaf plucking.

    The overcast, humid conditions continued, so in late December we took extreme action; severely reducing yield, mechanically shaking all vines, and dramatically increasing spraying. It was an enormous workload, but these vineyard interventions had a tremendous impact on the final fruit quality. Together with the weather conditions, they dramatically constrained berry development leading to very small grapes with thick skins, assisting to withstand disease and splitting. This was vitally important as February brought record rainfall with Gabrielle and two other notable rain events. Thankfully, the main cyclone impact was north of us and, with all our vineyards being on higher, free-draining ground, we sustained little direct damage.


    Harvest commenced in the last week of February, beginning in tricky circumstances as the early varieties had varying degrees of condition requiring very strict selection and careful handling. Thankfully the weather had cleared and held dry, fine and steady throughout the entirety of the two-month harvest period. Once the earliest harvests were over, the remaining varieties reaped the full benefit of the sustained fine autumn weather – hanging on and on towards full ripeness in clear, warm autumn sunlight.

    The resulting wines are quite remarkable. Cabernet Sauvignon is the undoubted star of the vintage with intense concentration, bright ink-black colours, huge extract, beautiful ripeness (generally 24 brix), and great length. Merlot and Cabernet Franc are likewise brilliant. These will produce amazing blends. The Sauvignon Blancs are amongst the finest ever at Te Mata, and the Syrahs are likewise showing very strong. These wines will astound, and especially so considering the generally poor expectations of a growing season that was written-off before the first grapes were even picked.

    2023 will be a lesson in “never count your chickens before they’re hatched.” It was a season that took Te Mata to new frontiers, and one we can’t wait to share with you.


    Download the Technical Report from Te Mata Estate here.

  • Vintage 2022 – Experience Reaped Rewards

    A memorable, incredibly early vintage, with significant highlights and some challenging moments. It resulted in wines with great varietal expression, restraint, tension, power, and length.



    Winter – Spring
    Winter was warm and dry. This led to an early bud burst and the earliest veraison in the last 30 years.


    Summer – Autumn
    Early summer we experienced a healthy amount of rain giving fully saturated soils, which lead to strong vine growth and full canopies for ripening. Then over two months a rapid accumulation of
    Growing Degree Days (GDD), with a record number of days above 30 degrees Celsius, lead to a record high GDD for this time of year. Vine stress came in mid-late summer – at a critical time of the season – to produce small berries with balanced canopies. Despite a rain event just before harvest and another late season with only a few blocks left to pick, we were able to pick quality fruit. This coupled with a huge amount of early vineyard work and the employment of some new viticultural practices, created the foundation to make to make some great wines.


    Logistically, it was a challenging harvest working around Covid regulations and team health. Except for a few blocks at the start of the harvest (which showed signs of being fragile and needed to be
    picked earlier than normal), fruit condition this year looked very good. Walking the vineyards daily, sampling, visualizing, and tasting was paramount.

    Nature can be capricious; however, it is precisely the succession of vintages – each so different and unique – that gives Hawke’s Bay and Te Mata’s wines their interest.

    The whites are balanced with intense varietal expression, natural acidity, and length.

    The reds are also balanced, from the scented notes and moreish acidity of Gamay Noir through to Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the highlights of the vintage, so noble with pedigree, both fine and
    dense at the same time; they are deeply coloured with great varietal complexity, acidity, and tannins. We are excited about the assemblage tastings to come.


    Conclusions and notes of significance
    • Exceptionally early bud burst.
    • The earliest veraison of reds I can recall.
    • A huge amount of work done in the vineyard prior to the New Year, by hand and with
    our new tractor herd.
    • Small berries from low crops.
    • Coordination of up to five handpicking teams.
    • A challenging harvest with two large rain events leading to some early picks from fragile
    • Heat and record GDD’s before harvest at a critical time.
    • The use of two hand-harvested processing lines.
    • The R&D work done over the last number of years in the vineyards and winery, literally
    coming to fruition.
    • And, yet again, the importance of:
    o estate-owned vineyards and setting our own standards for quality.
    o geographic spread with multiple varieties across four Hawke’s Bay sub-regions.
    o experienced personnel in both the vineyard and winery.


    Download the Technical Report from Te Mata’s Senior Winemaker Phil Brodie here…

  • Rare Coleraine Vertical Donated to Charity

    Hawke’s Bay wine auction donated rare set of Te Mata Coleraine

    As published in NZ Herald, September 2022:


    A “remarkable” 26-bottle set of Te Mata Estate Coleraine vintage wines will go under the hammer at the 30th Hawke’s Bay Wine Auction.

    The in-person event is being held on September 17 at Toitoi HB Arts and Events Centre and includes bespoke, one-off wines from some of the most prestigious wineries in Hawke’s Bay, collaborations between winemakers, luxury accommodation and restaurants, and a travel package.

    The auction also has a feature art piece, which this year is by John Lancashire.

    One of the biggest draws is set to be a 26 vintage vertical of Te Mata Estate Coleraine, which has been generously contributed by sponsors Isaacs Plumbing, Pumping and Electrical.

    This Te Mata Coleraine vertical of 26 vintages covers the span of 1994 to 2020 (minus non-producing 2012).

    Since the release of the first vintage in 1982, Te Mata Coleraine has established itself as one of New Zealand’s greatest red wines, its annual release always selling out.

    In March 2021, a single 750ml bottle of Te Mata Coleraine sold for more than $1000, a new record for any NZ wine at a commercial auction.

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