The origins of the current winery in the Hawke's Bay
area (North Island) date back to 1854, when the English immigrant John Chambers founded a sheep farm. His third son Bernard planted vines for the first time in 1892 and founded New Zealand'
s oldest winery in 1896. The family sold it in 1919 and after several changes of ownership it was purchased by John Buck in 1978. The winery is named after Te Mata Peak (in the Te Mata Hills), which was formed from the body of a giant (Te Mata = the giant) according to an ancient Maori legend. The vineyards cover a total of 119 hectares, 75 of which are in Woodthorpe (where there are still 135 hectares that are unplanted). The vineyards are planted with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Gamay Noir, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Viognier, among others. The wines are produced under the labels Awatea, Bullnose, Cape Crest, Coleraine, Elston, Rymer's Change and Woodthorpe. Top wines include Awatea Cabernet-Merlot, Bullnose Syrah, Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc, Coleraine Cabernet-Merlot and Elston Chardonnay. An interesting red wine cuvée is Woodthorpe Syrah-Viognier, which is mainly blended from the red variety Syrah with a small proportion of the white variety Viognier.