I think it was a ’71 that they were ageing in bottles at the time. And yes, it was very good, but he [Tom McDonald] didn’t make it really. I mean, Denis Kasza made the wine – and Denis had a lot of skill.
Peter Hubscher was also working for McWilliam’s around the same time. However, he applied for a job at Montana because he ‘was frustrated with McWilliam’s. I didn’t agree
Milford Sound New Zealand Map Photo Gallery
Competition for land led winegrowers into the hills and terraces of the Ngaruroro, Tutaekuri, and Tukituki rivers. Sacred Hill (above) and Te Mata (opposite) started growing grapes high upriver on the Tutaekuri Terraces. Sacred Hill Vineyards (above); Tim Whittaker Photography (opposite) with where they were going or what they were doing. And, though I was heir apparent to McDonald, I didn’t want to inherit a sherry factory that was based on sugar and water.’ Kim and Trish Salonius belonged to a small group of winegrowers who established their family-based enterprises in Hawke’s Bay in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In order of their first significant vintage in Hawke’s Bay, these five enterprises are Eskdale Winegrowers (1977), Te Mata Estate Winery (1979), Ngatarawa Wines (1981), Stonecroft Wines (1984) and CJ Pask Winery Ltd (1985). They included individuals with a range of experience from practising viticulture and making wine on three continents (Kim Salonius), to deep understanding of the European culture and marketing of wine (John Buck), to international training in viticulture and oenology (Alwyn Corban), to sophisticated soil science (Alan Limmer), to rich empirical knowledge of Hawke’s Bay and boldness and acuity in developing an enterprise (Chris Pask). Not only were they clear about the styles of wine they wanted to produce, but they all showed confidence in Hawke’s Bay as the place they wanted to develop their enterprise, even though the main mentor for two of them, Denis Irwin, was growing grapes in Gisborne. Their influence continues to the present with most still running their own enterprises, although in some cases the second generation is now managing the day-to-day operations.
To this group can be added the Mission Estate Winery, because winemaker Brother John and his successor Paul Mooney shared their philosophy and associated with them, as did Vidal under its reincarnation as part of the Villa Maria group. By the mid-1980s, all were asserting the qualities of Hawke’s Bay to make distinctive wines.
These smaller, mainly family wineries, established in the 1970s and 1980s, were important in setting the tone for a new era of winegrowing in Hawke’s Bay. They quickly established a reputation for quality red wine, initially based on the Bordeaux grape varieties, and quality white wine, notably Chardonnay and Gewurtztraminer. But it is possible to find examples of excellent wines made from a very wide range of varieties in Hawke’s Bay. Grape growers and winemakers who started in these decades have the advantage of a longer experience with the nuances of their sites than in many other
McWilliam’s Bakano, a blended dry red, and Cresta Dore, a sparkling wine, head to market. Auckland War Memorial Museum – Tamaki Paenga Hira, PH-2008-4 regions. Moreover, their vines are older. It is not surprising that for a variety such as Chardonnay, wines from Hawke’s Bay tend to dominate the wine awards and other competitions in New Zealand.
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