- Wine Growing Region.
Poverty Bay, Gisborne, New Zealand
Appellations / Geographical Indicators: Clos Ste. Anne, Manutuke, Matawhero
- Size Of Combined Estates
- Average Annual Production
50 - 75 hectolitres/hectare
5 - 8 tonnes/hectare
In 1984 James and Annie Millton established their winery on the banks of the Te Arai River near Manutuke where the early settlers first planted grapevines in 1871. This region is situated on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand in the winegrowing region of Gisborne. Originally Annie's father, Mr John Clark, had developed vineyards on his estate at 'Opou' in Manutuke during the late 1960's.
James and Annie returned to Gisborne after experience gained in the famous wine regions of France and Germany including Champagne Bollinger, Maison Sichel in Bordeaux and Weingut Kurstner in Rheinhessen. By 1983 they had extensively researched and replanted major parts of the families’ grape growing business at the Opou Vineyard and Riverpoint Vineyard before, in 1984, establishing the winemaking and barrel aging facility in the present Te Arai Vineyard. This vineyard was then established and later, as children Monique and Sam were born further plantings were established on the river plateaus at either end of this vineyard. Clos Monique and Clos Samuel.Doors from the water tower off original Opou Homestead comprised the front entrance to the shiny white walls. Fashionable clothing and always a Burmese Cat and Labrador Dog. Alysum is now considered a very beneficial flowering vineyard plant.
Naboth’s Vineyards was first planted in 1981 on a steep slope of land that was then part of Papatu Station. These grapes went to produce the wines Clos de Ste. Anne and these plantings were enhanced in 2001 where land further around the slope was attained which went on to provide ultra premium fruit from its hillside amphitheatre.
In 1986 they were the first New Zealand winegrowers to attain the Bio-Gro organic certification and after 28 years of biodynamic practice they were again one of the first to qualify for the Demeter certification NZ, in 2009.
In the early part of The Millton Vineyard’s establishment arrays of quality wine were produced, not only winning favour with foundation customers, but pleasing the national judges as well. Recognition was rapidly achieved by winning numerous trophies and gold medals, for the traditionally styled Riesling and Chenin Blanc. Internationally, gold medals were awarded at the International Wine Challenge, held annually in London, for the 1992 Gisborne Chardonnay. This wine went on to win the trophy at the International Organic Wine Challenge Fair while the two other wines entered came second and third. We achieved a similar result at the 2004 San Francisco Wine Fair with Gold medals for the Riesling and Chenin Blanc. The Chenin Blanc also won the trophy moving this particular wine into the position of its current prestige as being a new-world wine classic and one of “1001 wines to drink before you die” (Ed. Beckett, 2008. Published by Penguin). Today the wine estate is still in family control with James charged with the vineyard and wine culture and Annie running the finance, sales and marketing while daughter Monique attends to Sales and administration. This is all not made possible without the enduring strength and efforts from 7 other co-workers who collectively contribute to over 125 years of work in the wine trade.
Television footage of interview of James and Annie Millton on Rural Delivery, TVNZ, March 2009.