Te Mata Estate pioneered Hawke’s Bay pinot noir in the 1890s, producing a small amount for the winery’s first vintage in 1896.
The vineyards were in the Havelock Hills, and the grapes hand-harvested and vinified in the same buildings we use today – the oldest operating winery in New Zealand. The quality of the first pinots immediately drew recognition, selling quickly and capturing the attention of international wine writer Romeo Bragato.
‘Mr Chambers, of Te Mata, has a small vineyard of Pinots and a quarter-acre of Black Hamburghs, which are doing well. Here I tasted some beautiful wine…’
Romeo Bragato, Report on the Prospects of Viticulture in New Zealand
‘At the end of a busy first day, one vat was filled with pinot, another with the first of the claret.’
Bernard Chambers Daybook-Diary 1896
After much consideration, a twenty-year project was established in 1999 at an elevated, inland site specially chosen by the Te Mata Estate winemaking team. Having worked in Burgundy for Domaine F & L Saier, the owners of Domaine Saier in Mercurey and Clos des Lambrays in Morey-Saint-Denis, winemaker Philip Brodie oversaw development. Small production wines have been periodically released to favourable critical attention. Again their quality was immediately recognized, in the US by the Wall Street Journal and in the UK
by Jancis Robinson.
Te Mata Estate’s commitment meant that long-term research and development could continue being undertaken to create even greater depth and finesse in these wines. In 2019, we are excited to release the culmination of a story that, like the estate itself, has been 125 years in the making.