Humble Beginnings

Head of the Family

Matua vineyard beginnings

“You’re planting sauvignon-what? That’s one massive gamble you are taking.”

It was a common reaction back in 1969 when Matua began in a tin shed near Auckland. They took no notice, planted New Zealand’s first sauvignon blanc and – you could say – ultimately changed the way the world enjoys white wine.

It all kicked off with a vision shared by Bill and Ross Spence to revolutionise the New Zealand wine industry by making wines with the best fruit from the best vineyards. It’s a philosophy which stands today and one which has helped Matua become the country’s most internationally acclaimed winery with more trophies than any other (including the prestigious 2012 International Wine and Spirit Competition NZ Wine Producer of the Year). Those results come from an unwavering focus on sourcing great grapes, and crafting them into even greater wines. 

And whilst the range of wines has expanded from the humble beginnings 40 years ago, the quality is evident throughout, be it the limited release Single Vineyard wines, the exciting new Lands & Legends series, or the world-beating Regionals range. Four decades on, Bill Spence is still actively involved as Matua ambassador, with winemaking under the watch of Nikolai St George.

“We’ve got striking new packaging in the market, and we’re making the best wines we’ve ever had,’’ says St George. “What we’re doing now is exactly what Bill set out to do 40 years ago – push boundaries, and push quality.

“Matua means ‘head of the family’, and we do all we can to live to this name.” With its history of firsts and impressive performance, it’s a fitting name.

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