Te Mata Estate
One of the oldest wineries in New Zealand, Te Mata Estate was originally part of Te Mata Station, a large pastoral land-holding established in 1854 by English immigrant John Chambers. Bernard Chambers, John Chambers' third son, planted vineyards on the north-facing hills around Havelock North in 1892. Te Mata has since flourished and is now considered one of the most prestigious and largest wineries in New Zealand. The estate remains family-owned and produces internationally recognized wines exclusively from its Hawke's Bay vineyards. Today, the winery has expanded to cover 250 hectares. Although it has grown large enough to be well-sourced, it remains small enough to concentrate on producing detailed and high-quality classic wines.
The scenic Hawke's Bay region, with its wide range of slopes, plains, climates and free-draining soil types, is ideal for growing grapes and has earned Hawke's Bay its reputation as a quality wine-growing region. Every step of wine production, from grape growing and pruning to winemaking and bottling, is undertaken and overseen by the Te Mata Estate family. In 1974, Te Mata was acquired by the Buck and Morris families and underwent restoration and expansion, emerging as a modern interpretation of this historic wine estate. Te Mata Estate launched Estate Vineyards in 2012, a collection of five varietally-designated wines: Merlot/Cabernets, Syrah, Gamay Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The Estate Vineyard wines represent the best qualities of their grape varieties, vintages, and Hawke's Bay origin.
Te Mata Estate has stood at the forefront of the modern rejuvenation of New Zealand's wine scene for the last forty years. They use sustainable viticulture (plants, grasses and sheep) to minimize the use of harmful chemical treatments that upset the natural balance of strain and soil. Today, Te Mata continues to produce small batches of high-quality red and white wines that are exclusively from their own vineyards. Their complex, well-structured and balanced wines are a result of monitored winemaking techniques, careful aging in brick cellars dating from 1874, and continued bottle evolution.
Te Mata Estate wines are currently available in 45 countries and have been presented at some of the world’s top tables— including to President Barrack Obama, President Xi Jinping, and Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. Named after the Buck family’s Northern Irish ancestral town, Te Mata Estate’s flagship wine, Coleraine, which isn’t released every year, is keenly reflective of the vintage in which it is made. When it is released, it immediately becomes a collector’s item, with the last four vintages selling out from the winery within weeks. Regarded as New Zealand’s most famous red wine, in 2018 35-year verticals of Te Mata Estate Coleraine achieved the highest ever auction price paid for any collection of New Zealand wine. Air New Zealand recently showed vertical collections of Coleraine and Bullnose Syrah to wine writers and guests in Melbourne and Sydney.
Te Mata Estate’s wines hold a unique position in the New Zealand wine-landscape. Simultaneously the cabernet-based Coleraine acts as the most famous example of this country’s global fine wine ambitions and as a benchmark for any discussion of wine as an age-worthy investment. Cabernet-based Coleraine is designed to evolve over decades and, with its first vintage in 1982, has a pedigree unlike any other wine in the country.
US wine critic James Suckling listed recent vintages of Te Mata Coleraine and Te Mata Bullnose in his Top 50 Wines of the World, and last year Decanter magazine profiled Coleraine ’98 as one of its “Wine Legends,” describing it as “the most avidly collected of New Zealand red wines”—making it the first ever New Zealand wine to achieve this accolade.