Gillman Vineyard

On his return in 1998 from making wine in Bordeaux, Toby Gillman and his family established their vineyard in the Matakana region. Only one exceptional wine is made each year – a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec. The vineyard currently covers 1.5 acres – “Small enough that I know every vine,” winemaker Toby Gillman says. “Practically everything is done by hand.

“As great wine can only be made from the highest quality grapes, we searched for two years to find the perfect place to establish our vineyard. We chose the Matakana region, an hour’s drive north of Auckland. Matakana’s warm summers and low rainfall create ideal conditions for traditional Bordeaux varieties. Eventually we found our ideal site – a steep north-facing slope of free-draining, iron-rich volcanic clay, which is sheltered by the Rodney Ranges to the west and warmed by the nearby Pacific Ocean to the east. Planting began in 1998 and is closely modelled on the finest Bordeaux vineyards. Dense plantings of vines are set close to the ground so the grapes are warmed by heat rising from the clay. Two-thirds of the vineyard is planted in Cabernet Franc, which thrives in Matakana, producing a wine of great character. The rest is in Merlot, with a small amount of Malbec.”

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