Celebrating 25 Years – January 2024

It is 25 years since we started planting our vineyard.  This year we will reflect each month on our journey and share some of our stories with you, both trials and triumphs.  Alongside this, we will be opening up our cellar and making some of our library stock available.  So keep an eye out for your favourite vintages, varietals or bottle sizes.  

Digging holes for first vineyard planting for Blue Earth Estate

So how did we get started?

Mike fell in love with Martinborough many years ago when we took our children camping in the Wairarapa.  He started a long campaign to get us to buy a small block of land where we could plant some native trees and relax.  Margaret, who believed she was a city person, wasn’t particularly interested.  But Mike is both persistent and persuasive.  Eventually Margaret agreed, so long as it had a view, bush and a river.  In  1996 we found the perfect piece of land with all three, but it was 30 acres not the 5 we were looking for.  And with 30 acres, you really need to do something with it.  

We were clear that we didn’t want a vineyard.  Too much work – and we were right.  So we started by planting an olive grove on our bare sheep paddock.  Then we met Bill Brink, one of Martinborough’s pioneer winemakers. When he saw our land he said it was a crime we had planted olives, that it should only be growing grapes.  As Bill needed more grapes for his beautiful Walnut Ridge wines, we eventually said yes.  If it was a nice day, and we were in the mood, we would help.  But it was going to be his responsibility.  In 1999 Bill started planting.  

So we became vineyard owners.  Unfortunately three years later, on the day of our first olive harvest, Bill died from a return of cancer.  We were left with a vineyard, and with more poles and plants ordered intended for an expansion.  We took a deep breath and decided to continue.  

We must admit, there were a few times over the years when we cursed Bill for getting us into this.  Mike would threaten to pull the whole thing out.  But mostly we have been very grateful.  He may not have been right about the land only being right for grapes, we are very happy to have continued and expanded our olive grove.  But he was right that this piece of land would make beautiful wines.