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Te Mata Estate Winery
Kathy Sullivan

Te Mata Estate WinerySummary: Te Mata Estate is one of the oldest wineries in New Zealand with three vineyards planted in 1892. The name for the winery is from the nearby Te Mata Peak. Te Mata refers to a legend. Te Mata Winery produces Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Bordeaux blends. The winery is the story of both old and new reflected in the winemaking and the architecture.

In the late 1800’s Bernard Chambers planted grapevines in three sections in the Te Mata area. The grapevines were successful and more grapevines were added. In 1909 it was the largest vineyard in New Zealand. These vineyards are still used today. Since its beginning in the late 1890’s, Te Mata Winery has changed hands several times. In the 1970’s the current owners, Morris and Buck families purchased the winery.

Today Te Mata Winery uses modern winemaking equipment and the tradition of producing quality grapes to produce their wines. Old architecture meets with new architecture as reflected in the modern style of the round cellar door room with a tall steeple and the old brick buildings now used for oak barrels. The two areas are seamed together with a large brick patio area.

Te Mata Estate Winery

Te Mata Estate WineryVineyards

The Te Mata vineyards are located nearby in the Hawke’s Bay area. The vineyards occupy 150 hectares (371 acres.) The soil consists of 40 to 60 cm of silt over a hard rock pan. The vines do not get a lot of growth. The vineyards are planted with an orientation from North to South. The vineyard blocks are frost free.

Fence post holes were recently dug for a vineyard. One member of our group took a shovel and tried to dig. He hit the hard rock pan. The hole was about two feet deep.

Te Mata Estate WineryWinery

Many activities take place in a winery, including cleaning barrels, open fermentation tanks and pneumatic punch down on a track that can reach 18 open fermentation tanks.


The winery focus is on Bordeaux blends, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. In addition they have also planted Syrah. Te Mata Estate produces 40,000 cases of wine using their estate grapes. Tastings are with Riedel stemware.

White Wines

Sauvignon Blanc 2010 was a light straw color. The wine had a tropical aroma with tropical and lime nuances on the taste. The finish was crisp and dry with lime notes. Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc Cape Crest 2009 was a Sauvignon Blanc with some Semillion and Sauvignon Gris added. The aroma was tropical. The taste offered tropical and coconut nuances. The crisp finish was multi-layered. Zara 2009 was a Viognier with a light yellow color. The aroma offered floral nuances with a hint of orange blossom. The taste had rose and orange notes. The finish was crisp with floral nuances. Chardonnay offered an aroma and taste of yellow stone fruit. The finish had hints of grapefruit.

Te Mata Estate WineryRed Wines

Syrah 2009 produced with a bit of Viognier was a ruby color. There were black pepper notes on the aroma and taste. The finish was crisp and spicey. Bullnose was a dark purple. There were black pepper notes on the aroma. The taste had black fruit and spice nuances. Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 was a ruby color. The aroma offered dark fruit and spice nuances. The taste had notes of dark fruit. The finish had tannins and dark fruit yielding to spice. Aweata 2008 was a Cabernet and Merlot blend. This ruby colored wine offered dark fruit nuances on the aroma and taste. The finish had tannins and dark fruit notes.

The Legend of Te Mata

The name Te Mata is from the nearby Te Mata Peak. Te Mata is from a legend. “The Sleeping Giant." It is about a young girl, Hinerakau, who was to pursue the giant who was her father's enemy. To much dismay she fell in love with him. Hinerakau was forced to set the giant certain almost impossible tasks. Ultimately the giant died. Hinerakau put her cloak over the giant. Today the Te Mata Peak represents the fallen giant while the mist over the peak is suspected to be Hinerakau’s cloak.

Enjoy a visit to Te Mata Winery where tradition and modern concepts work hand in hand.

Te Mata Estate Winery
349 Te Mata Road
Havelock North 4294, New Zealand





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