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‘Where there’s wine, there’s a way.’ | Surani Mahagodage | Napier

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I JUST RESCUED SOME WINE; IT WAS TRAPPED IN A BOTTLE.

 

The Birthplace of New Zealand Wine

The Hawke’s Bay wine region is New Zealand’s oldest and second-largest wine-production region on the east coast of the North Island. Some of the oldest wineries still operating in New Zealand, including Te Mata Estate, Church Road, and Mission Estate, were established in the Hawke’s Bay area in the late 19th century.

The story begins in 1838 when a group of French Missionaries set sail to New Zealand with little more than their faith and a few vines. Successfully landing in Hawke’s Bay in 1851, the Fathers established a mission station at Pakowhai, near the Ngaruroro River in the same year. This remains New Zealand’s oldest surviving winery.

In 1870, Brother Cyprian Huchet, the trained winemaker from the Loire Valley, rose to the exalted position of Mission Estate Cellar Master and oversaw New Zealand’s first recorded commercial sale of wine. He was one of New Zealand’s first qualified winemakers, and his knowledge became highly sophisticated.

“Brother Huchet introduced a press house, a grape crusher, and achieved New Zealand’s first International medal at the Paris Wine Awards 1889. He was also responsible for extending the commercial sale of wine at the mission in the late 1800s. He remained in charge of the vineyards and cellars until he died in 1899.” 

Today, Mission Estate’s most premium range of wine is named after Brother Huchet, who instilled the wealth of knowledge that lives on at Mission Estate today. Chief Winemaker Paul Mooney says, “The wines in the Huchet range today are only made in the finest vintages and are an exceptional tribute to one of New Zealand’s pioneering winemakers.”

In 1930, the winery began building a three-story concrete accommodation block. On February 2 1931, some students moved into the new building. The following day February 3, 1931, at 10.47 am, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale struck Hawke’s Bay causing severe damage to the region and the entire mission. Two priests and seven students meditating in the stone chapel were killed when it hit.

Mission Estate was the first New Zealand winery to use the traditional French techniques of whole bunch pressing and barrel-fermented Chardonnay back in the 1980s and before other NZ wineries. These are now widespread techniques employed across New Zealand.

Mission Estate has a longstanding reputation for producing quality, award-winning wines with a fascinating past, surviving everything from floods to earthquakes.

It was also the first winery to make sparkling wine using the Method Traditionally technique – learned directly from France.

As an iconic Hawkes bay landmark, TODAY offers a wide range of services in mission, and their wine tasting and tours are well known all over New Zealand. 

In 1870, Brother Cyprian Huchet, the trained winemaker from the Loire Valley rose to the exalted position of Mission Estate Cellar Master and oversaw New Zealand’s first recorded commercial sale of wine. He was one of New Zealand’s first qualified winemakers and his knowledge became extremely sophisticated.

“Brother Huchet introduced a press house, a grape crusher, achieved New Zealand’s first International medal at the Paris Wine Awards 1889, and he was also responsible for extending the commercial sale of wine at Mission in the late 1800s. He remained in charge of the vineyards and cellars until his death in 1899.” 

Today, Mission Estate’s most premium range of wine is named after Brother Huchet who instilled the wealth of knowledge that lives on at Mission Estate today. Chief Winemaker Paul Mooney says, “The wines in the Huchet range today are only made in the finest vintages and are an exceptional tribute to one of New Zealand’s pioneering winemakers.”

La Grande Maison in 1911. The iconic house is now home to a restaurant and cellar door.

In 1930, the winery began building a three-story concrete accommodation block. On February 2 1931, some students moved into the new building.  The next morning February 3, 1931, at 10.47 am, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale struck Hawke’s Bay causing serious damage to the region and the entire Mission. Two priests and seven students who were meditating in the stone chapel were killed when it hit.

 

It was also the first winery to make sparkling wine using the Method Traditionally technique – learned directly from France

Mission Estate was the first New Zealand winery to use the traditional French techniques of whole bunch pressing and barrel fermented Chardonnay back in the 1980s and long before other NZ wineries. These are now widespread techniques employed across New Zealand.

With the fascinating past, surviving everything from floods to earthquakes, Mission Estate has a longstanding reputation for producing quality award-winning wines.

TODAY, as an iconic Hawkes bay landmark they offer a wide range of services in mission and their wine testing and tours are well known all over New Zealand. 

By Surani Mahagodage – Napier

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