Established in 1896, Te Mata Estate remains family owned, producing internationally recognized wines exclusively from its Hawke’s Bay vineyards, located on New Zealand’s North Island. Te Mata Estate is home to New Zealand’s oldest vineyards and wine cellars with 125 years of continuous wine production. Today, the Buck family delivers internationally acclaimed estate-grown wines of classical style, which represent the best qualities of their variety, vintage and vineyard.
Te Mata Estate was originally part of Te Mata Station, a large pastoral land-holding established by English immigrant, John Chambers, in 1854. A homestead and stables were built on the property in the early 1870’s. After returning from France, John Chamber’s third son, Bernard, had the idea to plant vineyards on the north-facing hills around Havelock North. In 1892, Bernard Chambers planted vines on three parcels of hillside land above the homestead and began converting the original stables to ferment and mature these first Te Mata Estate wines. Today, Te Mata Estate still uses those same three vineyards.
Te Mata Estate has long remained in the hands of devoted families, and since 1974 has been owned and managed by the Buck family, now in their 3rd generation of stewardship. All Te Mata Estate wines are produced from estate grown fruit and all production, maturation and bottling is done on site.
Te Mata Estate’s vineyards enjoy a temperate maritime climate and low rainfall year-round, due to the rain shadow from mountains to the west. Today, Te Mata Estate encompasses 135 hectares of vines planted across 4 subregions.
First planted in 1892, the Havelock Hills are the heart of Te Mata Estate’s wine production and home to the winery. Te Mata Estate has five sites on these free draining, north-facing slopes, including Coleraine, Awatea, Elston and 1892 – one of New Zealand’s oldest vineyards. Soils to the east of the property are predominantly sandy loam over a sandstone base. Towards the west are sandy loam over clay and silica. The distinctive terrain lies at the intersections of two tectonic plates, which has paved the landscape of steep and gentle sloping terraces, ideal for grape-growing.
The Havelock Hills Vineyards are renowned for producing wines with great balance, power and elegance. In 1996 the Havelock Hills area was recognized for the significance of its natural and viticultural heritage when it was designated the Te Mata Special Character Zone. This legally protected the hills from development and created the first wine appellation in New Zealand.
Woodthorpe Terraces is nestled between sheltering hills on elevated, free-draining, north-facing terraces in Hawke’s Bay Dartmoor Valley. The soils, which were left behind as the Tutaekuri River eroded its path through the hills to the sea, are mainly alluvial stone, clay and sandy loam. Vineyard planting began in 1994 and today Woodthorpe Terraces has 75 hectares under vine. Woodthorpe Terraces has the estate’s largest plantings of Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Viognier and Gamay Noir.
Bridge Pa Triangle
The Bridge Pa Triangle has summer temperatures that among the hottest in Hawke’s Bay. This long, dry heat, combined with free-draining silt loam over a red, mineral gravel base, make this a superb site for ripening red and white varietals. Te Mata Estate has two vineyards in Bridge Pa Triangle. Bullnose Vineyard, a 15 hectare site planted in 1990 with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Sauvignon Gris. Isosceles Vineyard, another 15 hectare site nearby, was planted in 2000 with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Semillon and Cabernet Franc.
The Te Mata team was one of the first to recognize the potential of the gravels west of Hastings for grape growing, an area where stony soils from the old Ngaruroro River were exposed after a flood in the 1860s. Today, the Gimblett Gravels has gained an international reputation for the complexity, depth and detail of its red wines, as well as the consistent quality and fine delicacy of the white wines.
Te Mata Estate has two vineyard sites here: Hot Spur (Syrah) and Ancestral (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah). Gravels on the surface, unlike the red iron top soil of Bridge Pa Triangle, reflect and retain the intense Hawke’s Bay sunlight. Wines produced here have great ripeness, power and weight.
With a focus on conservation and sustainability, the estate vineyards and the winery are a New Zealand-certified sustainable wine producer – part of an accredited program aimed at minimizing the environmental impact of wine production while promoting water conservation and reducing fossil fuels. Te Mata Estate’s vineyards were among the first to be accredited under this program. Continual advancements at Te Mata Estate are paving the way for a new phase of winemaking, with a bright and clear future that will continue to express the unique viticultural heritage of the estate.
Hawke’s Bay is a very special place for making wine. Its range of slopes, plains and climatic differences, coupled with low humidity and ample ultra-violet light, give winemakers a comprehensive toolkit to showcase their skills. Soils are young and derived from the gravels, silt and sands left behind as the three main rivers of Hawke’s Bay changed course over thousands of years.
Te Mata Estate
Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Hawke’s Bay
Te Mata Estate
Estate Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay
Te Mata Estate
Estate Gamay Noir, Hawke’s Bay