In 1996 Margaret and Mike fell in love with an old stony river terrace overlooking Te Muna Valley, outside of Martinborough in the Wairarapa. At that time it was bare grazing land. Its stony soils, gentle north facing slope and the clear, clean water of the Ruakokopatuna River promised potential.
They started by planting olives. But then got talked into planting a vineyard by one of Martinborough’s wine pioneers, Bill Brink from Walnut Ridge. When Bill died three years later, Margaret and Mike were unexpectedly left with a vineyard. They approached Martinborough Vineyard to buy their fruit and teach them how to grow quality grapes. This was when they met viticulturalist Nigel Elder. In 2009, the mentoring relationship turned into a business partnership and The Elder Pinot was born. Margaret and Mike got to continue developing the land, and Nigel got to follow his dream of making world class Pinot Noir.
This has been helped by Paul Mason, our wine maker, who has worked with the grapes from our vineyard ever since it started producing and manages each year to bring out the best in the fruit.
Along the way we have become more and more embedded in the principles of sustainability. We make most of our own power, have extensive planting of native trees, use electric powered equipment where possible, do predator trapping, graze sheep and minimise water usage and spraying of pesticides or herbicides.
Come and visit our vineyard and olive grove. We would love to share our evolving story and our wines and olive oils with you.