A small organic vineyard in Matakana with a special connection to the Hundertwasser Art Centre in Whangarei.

Alistair and Karen Noakes left Matamata and share milking behind in 1995 with a move to a 32-acre block of vines in the Hawkes Bay.  Encouraged by their love of making fruit wine at home, and with their Rhubarb bubbles being voted most popular by friends, the Noakes spent 10 years growing Chenin Blanc and Müller-Thurgau grapes for larger vineyards in the area.  They met Justin and Cynthia Oliver of Bohemian Cider in the Bay and made the odd batch of cider together.

With enough winemaking knowledge to take on more challenges Alistair was encouraged to move home to Matakana in 2006 and manage the Ti Point vineyard, Coxhead Creek vineyard and The Gabion.  A few years later in 2011 Alistair was approached by Natural Development who were looking for a vineyard manager.  The company had purchased 100 acres of farmland and covenanted native bush in Matakana.  Alistair was asked to assess the lands suitability to grow grapes, determine the set-up costs of a vineyard and predicted returns.  The role suited Alistair and Karen perfectly and they planted the first vines in 2013.  The warm, sheltered site protected by towering pines now holds one hectare each of Chardonnay, Syrah and Grüner Veltliner.  Chardonnay and Syrah are favourites of Alistair and Karen and are well suited to the climate and soil conditions, while the two clones of Grüner Veltliner acknowledge the landowner’s Austrian heritage.     

The Noakes have been able to develop the property as they wish.  The first task was to create an organic haven for the 10,500 grapevines, 27 beehives, the roving chickens and kunekune pigs.  200 neighbouring sheep also enjoy visiting each summer to take on the task of leaf plucking, followed by cattle in winter to control the under-vine grasses.  Alistair and Karen worked tirelessly to complete the BioGro certification back in 2013 and can now proudly claim to be the only certified organic vineyard in Matakana.  Working in cooperation with nature is the key principle of organic winemaking.  No chemical fertilisers or pesticides are applied to the soil or vines.  Instead, biodynamic, homeopathic and organic products are used to deal with pests and disease.  For 10 years Alistair and Karen have been dedicated to creating organic wines that are naturally low in sulphur while nurturing the land and looking to the climate and soil conditions to influence the intricacies of each wine style.

The previous eight months have perhaps proved to be the most exciting in not only Natural Developments progress but also in Alistair’s career as a winemaker.  October 30 wines has a new supply agreement in place with Whangarei’s Hundertwasser Art Centre, home of the southern hemispheres only Hundertwasser museum.  The organic principles of October 30 wines, their natural ethic of looking after the land, people and environment drew the attention of the museum directors who looked to source a unique wine brand to serve the restaurant, gift shop and events programme at the Hundertwasser Art Centre.  It was during these talks between the Noakes and the Art Centre that Christian Baha, the Austrian owner of Natural Developments finalised an agreement with the Hundertwasser Foundation in Austria to be granted a licence to reproduce a Hundertwasser wine label based on his silk screen 10002 Nights Homo Humus Come Va How Do You Do, as the new image branding for October 30 wines.  This success came as a surprise to Alistair and Karen on the night before their final meeting with the Art Centre in Whangarei.  A more astounding revelation was brought to light also, Mr Baha is the owner of the world’s largest private collection of Hundertwasser works and has been a passionate admirer of Hundertwasser for many years.

The Noakes spent the summer of 2021/2022 preparing 130 cases of Grüner Veltliner, Chardonnay, Rosé and Syrah for shipment to the Art Centre.  And to celebrate their partnership and triumph with the Hundertwasser label they visited the Art Centre in February.

“It is truly magnificent, the art, the location, the story.  And we are so happy to be able to share our wine with more people”.

October 30 wines are also available at the Vintry wine bar in Matakana; at Aldo’s Restaurant and the Tahi Bar in Warkworth, and at wine shops in Mangawhai and Silverdale.

You can visit the October 30 wine website to order online and read more about this small but surprising vineyard and its connection to the remarkable world of Hundertwasser.