Established in 1896, Te Mata Estate remains family owned, producing internationally recognised wines exclusively from its Hawkes Bay vineyards.
Under the direction of John Buck, Te Mata Estate has, over nearly thirty years, produced a stunning array of red and white wines including famous labels such as Coleraine, Awatea Cabernets/Merlots, Bullnose Syrah, Elston Chardonnay, Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc and, launched in 2009, Zara Viognier.
In 2012 Te Mata Estate launched Estate Vineyards - a collection of five varietally designated wines; merlot/cabernet, syrah, gamay noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Collectively labelled as Estate Vineyards, these wines are sourced exclusively from Te Mata Estate’s own vineyards and blended to represent the best qualities of their variety, vintage, and Hawke’s Bay origin.
Classically Te Mata Estate, these wines display fresh and intense varietal characters with hallmark finesse and winemaking elegance. Te Mata Estate’s commitment to quality is apparent in these expressive and approachable wines, which can be appreciated immediately upon release.
Te Mata Estate Winery originated as part of Te Mata Station, a large pastoral land-holding established by English immigrant John Chambers in 1854. John’s third son, Bernard had the original vision for wine production off the north facing hillside slopes bordering Havelock North. Bernard was well travelled and had observed similar, successful wine growing conditions in France. When John formalised the division of his estate between his sons, Bernard retained the 1,960 hectare Te Mata Estate homestead block. In 1892, he went onto plant grape vines on three parcels of hillside land above the homestead. Today, Te Mata Estate still utilises those original three vineyards to produce its most famous wines; Coleraine, Awatea and Elston.
The Chambers family sold the property in 1919. It had various owners until it was acquired by the current owners in 1978. Both vineyards and winery were run down, although still making wine. The opportunity to purchase brick cellars, dating from 1872, and two wonderful vineyard sites were irresistible to the Bucks and the Morris’s, the two families behind the current company.
A twenty year development programme was commenced, beginning with a restoration and re-equipping of the original building. More land was acquired by ownership, lease and management contract. All the original vineyards were replanted and viticulture underwent a further detailed review when Dr Richard Smart was engaged as a consultant in 1989. Peter Cowley joined as winemaker in 1984 and is now Technical Director in the company. Under his direction all our winemaking techniques are monitored and kept in tune with our policy of producing small lots of high-quality wine from our own properties.
In 1994 we appointed a viticulturist, Larry Morgan, a close associate of Richard Smart. Larry has put in place all the monitoring and review systems to further enhance the quality of grapes arriving at the crusher, and has also steadily advanced our move into sustainable viticulture.
Another feature of Te Mata Estate is its architecture. Incorporating the original winery building, Wellington’s famous Athfield Architects created a modern complex using local materials and limewash colours. Apart from the restored original building the rest of the premises has been progressively built since 1987. Both the winery buildings and the Buck family home, Coleraine, across the road from the winery, were designed by Wellington architect lan Athfield.
Athfield’s brief was to create a New Zealand winery environment which did not copy the traditions of other winemaking countries. Local materials were to be used. Circular and square forms and the use of a range of limewash colours chosen.