We’re passionate about Matakana wine
Matakana Winegrowers live, work and play in Auckland’s best wine destination. We are knowledgeable and passionate winemakers and viticulturalists and chatting to us about our diverse range of quality wines makes for easy entertainment. You’ll love discovering our delicious Matakana wines, meeting the characterful winegrowers and creating great memories. Come on a wine tour with us and you’ll get to taste select wine, many of which are only available at cellar doors.
Matakana wine is very exclusive: most is made in small quantities, with hand-picked grapes, with many not available in the wider market. Almost all the vineyards are on slopes, which helps to drain the clay soils.
Traditionally a red wine growing region, there are now some outstanding white wines – especially Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. However, the classic red varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinotage, Pinot Noir and Sangiovese are the Matakana wines that show consistent excellence.
Matakana’s winemaking history
Wine has been produced in Matakana since the mid-1950s, when Peter Unkovich and his wife Norma planted Siebel, Palomino and Baco 22A at Bay View Vineyard in Snells Beach. They gained a winemaking licence in 1961.
Petar and James Vuletic planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbecin in 1979 naming their vineyard ‘Antipodean’. They went their separate ways in the late 1980s. Providence Vineyard was subsequently developed by James Vuletic and became focussed on a Merlot dominant blend whilst the Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Antipodean label remained with Petar Vuletic until it was sold in the early 2000s.
Heron’s Flight Vineyard was the next Matakana vineyard to be planted in 1988. Ransom Wines followed in 1993, then in rapid succession Brick Bay, Ascension, Hyperion, and Matakana Estate were developed in the early 1990s.
Most of the vineyards in Matakana of this era had Bordeaux varietals as their red production – augmented by small patches of Pinot Noir, Pinotage and Syrah. The white production was centred on Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.
Positive reviews for several wines of this era supported the decision to plant these varieties and they have remained flag-bearers for the Matakana region. In the late 90s and early 2000s, Heron’s Flight is notable as it removed all French varietals and replanted with Italian. Ransom Wines planted the rare Carmenere. More winegrowers followed. This third wave of producers expanded the varietal field by planting Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Albarino, Roussanne, Montepulciano, Tannat and Petit Verdot.
This movement saw an increase in plantings of white grape varieties as well as a diversification of red varieties – notably Syrah and the Italian varietals. Nevertheless, this development should be regarded as adding to the existing recognition of the region’s capacity for producing Cabernet Franc and Merlot-predominant styles.
As of the 2017 vintage, there were more than 65 hectares planted and 21 commercial grape growing/winery operations within the Matakana region. The majority of vineyards and wineries are family owned businesses, run by a small number of full time staff and generally owner operated. With 28 varieties (17 Red and 11 White) planted, this made Matakana one of the most diverse wine regions in New Zealand.
Become a member of the Matakana Winegrowers Association
The Matakana Winegrowers Association aims to advance and enhance the mutual interests of the winegrowers in the wider Matakana region, in matters pertaining to the growing of grapes, and the production and marketing of grape wines of the region. If you are involved in commercial grape growing and/or grape winemaking enterprises in the wider Matakana region, we would like you to join us.
Members must have a long-term commitment to the wine grape industry in Matakana.
If you would like to become a member of the Matakana Winegrowers Association, please get in touch.
We love showcasing our wine to the Auckland market. If you would like to be the first to know about our upcoming events and activities, please get in touch.
Need more convincing?
“Amid the oyster farms, potteries, orchards, market gardens and beaches of Matakana and Mahurangi, an important new wine region has surfaced. The vineyards draped across the hills near the rural centre of Warkworth are producing a rising stream of white and red wines. On the east coast, an hour’s drive north of Auckland, this is a small but fast expanding wine region. “The winemakers are a diverse community, approaching the business of making a living from wine in very different ways. Some sell most of their output from their winery; others distribute their wines throughout New Zealand and overseas. Many .. are open to the public and welcome your visit.”
– Michael Cooper MW, Wine columnist, judge and author of more than 20 books on New Zealand wine.