First plantings were in 1992 and just less than 8 acres were planted. The remaining three acres were planted in 2005 and 2006.
As we head towards retirement we have sold the back blocks of our vineyard but have fruit contracts in place for as long as we want to make wine. We have retained the front block of Pinot Noir closest to the tasting room and our home.
The first vintage was 1997 with the first wine, a Pinot Noir, released in October 1998. In 1999 the 1998 Pinot Noir collected a Silver medal at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and in 2000 the 1999 Pinot Noir collected a Gold medal at the same awards. In 2008 our Gewürztraminer, which at last qualified on quantity, was awarded a Bronze medal. In May 2009 it was also awarded a ‘Commended’ at the London International Wine Challenge. In 2015 we stopped entering international and local wine competitions as we had proved our point – we make good wine!
Haythornthwaite Wines aims to produce high quality award winning wines. Our wine philosophy begins in the vineyard. We believe that quality wines can only be made from the best fruit we can grow through sustainable vineyard management.
All work in the vineyard of pruning, bud rubbing, fruit thinning, leaf plucking and harvesting is done by hand. The vineyard uses black lock-out netting to protect the harvest from the birds. We no longer use diesel burners as frost protection.
Winegrower and Managing Director
Mark chose to follow a dream in 1991 when he took early retirement and redundancy from IBM. From his university days in Cape Town he always had a dream to own his own wine farm.
With no background in the industry apart from being an enthusiastic consumer, he was able to follow his dream in 1992. Planting a vineyard on bare sheep land proved to be a bit more adventurous than he originally thought. Many years later, with award wining wines to his name he can now say he has succeeded.
Planting the grapes he loved proved to be a winner. Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and – the flagship Pinot Noir have all won a following with many accolades to their names.
What was bare land in 1991, is now a fully planted vineyard with extensive gardens, a house, a tasting room and many other small buildings.
Leading a busy corporate life working under her maiden name of Susan Andrews, joining Mark in the vineyard was not on her agenda; however the romance of wine, sunny days and loads of hard work convinced her to try.
Wendy works closely with each of her clients to produce wines that reflect the individual vineyards terroir, preferring a minimalistic approach to winemaking and allowing each parcel of fruit to show its own character and style.