About the winery
Whitehaven Wine Company was established in 1994 by majority shareholders, Greg and Sue White, and winemaker, Simon Waghorn.
For Greg and Sue, the move to Marlborough was a classic lifestyle change after careers spent in financial markets and marketing. For Simon, the motivation was the pursuit of quality winemaking within a company structure where he could share in the success of his efforts.
Simon came to Whitehaven following a distinguished career as senior winemaker at Corban’s Gisborne winery. His continued success at Whitehaven has shown that with excellent fruit Simon will produce outstanding wines.
1995 was Whitehaven’s first significant vintage with 5,000 cases produced. Although the 1995 vintage was the most difficult in Marlborough history, Whitehaven gained immediate success with a double gold medal Riesling and a 5 star rating for its Sauvignon Blanc. Numerous other successes followed, especially for Whitehaven’s flagship variety Sauvignon Blanc, which is now highly regarded for its quality, intensity and consistent expression of Marlborough’s unique style.
Production rose to 13,000 cases from the low yielding 2000 vintage and included Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, and of course, Sauvignon Blanc. While Sauvignon Blanc continues to dominate Marlborough wine production, Pinot Noir is considered by many to have an exciting future in Marlborough. The Company has now built production of this variety to commercial levels with plans for further substantial growth in the next few years.
It became clear by vintage 2001 that the old boutique winery site at 1 Dodson Street, while quaint and full of history, was not going to cope with planned production increases. In November 2001 the Company purchased 16 hectares of prime grape growing land and set about building a new 5,000 tonne winery, planting the remainder of the land in vines. The winery was completed just in time for the 2002 vintage and 1700 tonnes of grapes were processed. Vintage 2008 will see the winery process 4,000 tonnes (200,000 cases) for Whitehaven’s own labels and for several contract clients.
Whitehaven sources fruit from 40 acres of its own vineyards and from 30 contracted growers located in carefully selected vineyard sites across Marlborough’s Wairau and Awatere valleys. Viticulturist Stephen Dempster joined the Company, in 2002 and his role's major focus is working with Whitehaven's growers to obtain the best possible quality fruit. Whitehaven's continued success is because of the strong partnership it has with its contract growers and the unique flavours obtained from their vineyards.
Whitehaven Wines are marketed through exclusive agents in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, Japan, the United States, and Canada.
While Whitehaven has grown well beyond the original expectations of its shareholders, the management, winemaking, and viticultural team remain small and focused, working in an environment where their talents can be combined to produce elegant wines with distinctive regional character. (Source: whitehaven.co.nz)