If there were a Kiwi wine aristocracy, Te Mata would be part of it. Nestled in the foothills of the Te Mata heritage zone an ancient, ivy-covered water tower guards what was once an old stables, converted to a winery in the 1890s by the Chambers family. Constructed from pit-sawn native timber and handmade, hand-fired bricks dug from local clay, this building today provides Te Mata with cool cellaring space as well as the white wine fermentation room. When current owners John and Wendy Buck had their distinctive home designed by Ian Athfield, they also asked him to design the modern winery building extensions.
Things to know
Hotly contested as the oldest winery in the country, there’s still a vibrant atmosphere in the cellar door where wines made by Pete Cowley and Philip Brodie are enthusiastically explained. Independent, family-owned, exclusively Hawke’s Bay and committed to making premium wine on site is the Te Mata mantra.
Where to start? Te Mata has spent 35 years making some of the best wines in the country, meaning there’s a veritable smorgasbord of must-try wines. The Bullnose Syrah, made from grapes grown in the Bridge Pa Triangle wine-growing district, is magnificent, while the Zara Viognier and Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc are distinctively different.
It’s basically rude not to take a photo of yourself standing underneath the Coleraine sign – and to see how many pukekos you can spot stalking through the vineyard.