A small winery in Waipara Valley, New Zealand that continues to gather national and international awards for their superb wines
Established in 1991 by Buffy and Michael Eaton, Mountford Estate is nestled on the Eastern hills of the Waipara Valley of New Zealand. This unique area is dubbed the ‘Golden Mile,’ as the aspect gains high amounts of light and heat and the soils are predominantly marl (active limestone), which adds a fine minerality to the finished wines.
The Winemaker for Mountford Estate is Takahiro Koyama, who is also the current owner of the winery. After earning his Viticulture and Enology degree at New Zealand’s Lincoln University, Takahiro worked at Mountford Estate as assistant winemaker. After five vintages, he went overseas to further his winemaking experience in Europe and America. He eventually started his own winery, Koyama Wines Limited, in 2009, and purchased Mountford Estate in 2017. His company now offers Mountford and Koyama wines under one roof, both of which are produced from grapes at Mountford Estate and other local vineyards.
We're very excited to feature this amazing New Zealand wine in our International Wine Club for our quarterly wine club members. Cheers!
Map of the area
Brief History of New Zealand Wines
One may be surprised to hear that New Zealand’s winemaking history dates back more than two centuries to the country’s colonial period when the first recorded grapevine plantings were made at the Bay of Islands in 1819. Although English Colonialist James Busby was one of the earliest New Zealand winemakers in the 1840s, it is widely accepted that English missionary Samuel Marsden directed the planting of the first grapes on Kiwi soil some twenty years before then. It is interesting to note than, that New Zealand only recently (over the past four decades) emerged as one of the world’s better wine producers.
It wasn’t until the 1980’s that young New Zealand vintners who had trained in Europe and elsewhere began making daring wines that caught the attention of the British wine trade and well respected British critics. A number of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs began winning international medals and the varietal was declared by several British writers to be the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world, an axiom that further propelled the growth of the small country’s fledgling wine industry.
In a matter of months, wineries and vineyards began popping up along the fertile growing regions on both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. These plantings were part of ten dedicated wine growing regions, running more than a thousand miles from the Northland region in the upper Northwest corner of North Island to Central Otago much further south near the bottom of South Islands. The regions encompass almost every type of growing environment, as well as numerous soils as widespread and varied as any wine growing region in the world. As the vineyard plantings expanded, so did the types of varietals being planted and the wide assortment of wines that were made. New Zealand had suddenly become a vast wine-growing area of major international significance.
New Zealand wines continue to garner top international awards and industry accolades around the globe. Quite often, these wines also enjoy excellent price/value relationships, which is another factor in their incredible growth spurt to world acceptability. The future is extremely bright for the island country, which now ranks on par with many of the world’s best wine producing countries.