A HISTORY OF THE NELSON WINE REGIOn
1841-44 – Initial NZ Company settlers arrive from Europe including the first German immigrant group at Upper Moutere and Ranzau.
1868 – F H M Ellis & Sons produce "substantial volumes" of wine from grapes and other fruit at Motupipi in Golden Bay for a continuous 70 years, closing in 1939
1870 – Christopher and Peter Frank produce well regarded Golden Chasselas wine in Nelson through the 1880s
1872 – Government Viticulturist Romeo Bragato finds Nelson "admirably suited to cultivation of vines and fruit trees" and "has no hesitation in advising the residents to plant vines on a large scale"
1967-76 – Viggo du Fresne produces wine from his stony vineyard at Ruby Bay from Seibel and Italian varietals and becomes the second grape wine licensee in the South Island. Multi-tiered winery spilling down the hill; the grapes are hauled in at the top and wine racked from barrel to barrel down to bottling and sales at the bottom.
1972 – Rod Neill produces Pinot Noir (Bachtobel) along with Breidecker, Seibel 5455, and Cabernet Sauvignon under the Victory label at Stoke.
1973 – Hermann and Agnes Seifried buy orchard land in Upper Moutere. A Weinsburg graduate, Hermann is the first trained winemaker in the region. Grape cuttings were sourced from Ruakura research station and Massey University (rootstock and scion wood) for grafting, varieties included Pinot Chardonnay, Riesling, Grey Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Sylvaner, Gewürztraminer, Golden Chasselas,Pinot Blanc, Gamay Beaujolais, Pinot Noir (Bachtobel) and Refosco. The rootstocks available were 1202 and Rupestris St George.
1974 – Seifried Estate plant first five acre vineyard with grafted plants.
1976 – Craig and Jane Gass establish Korepo Winery at Ruby Bay growing Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
1976 – Seifried harvest their first crop. The wines were released for sale from Cellar Door/Mail order and to a very limited number of restaurants and wine retailers at Labour Weekend 1976. By the end of summer all wines had sold out.
1978 – Tim and Judy Finn (Neudorf Vineyards) plant a range of vinifera varieties including Pinot Noir at Neudorf in Upper Moutere. First vintage was 1981 with Chardonnay and later Pinot Noir as the major varieties.
1980 – Ranzau Vineyards established by Trevor Lewis planting Riesling Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir.
1980 – Pomona Vineyard established by Andy du Fresne above Ruby Bay plants the first 10/5 Pinot Noir in the region.
1982 – Seifried purchase 18ha in Redwood Valley and extend planting of mainly Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Noir
1982 – Neudorf establish the first licensed vineyard winebar in the South Island.
1983 – Seifried export first wines to the UK.
1984 – Glover's Winery established by Dave and Penny Gloverin Upper Moutere.
1987 – Seifried export first shipment to Germany
1989 – Dave Heraud establishes Waiwera Estate below the limestone cliffs at Clifton in Golden Bay, 120 years after the pioneering Ellis Bros.
1990 – Greenhough Vineyard is established by Jenny Wheeler and Andrew Greenhough at the old Ranzau winery site.
1991-94 – Nelson Region hosts the initial Southern Pinot Noir workshops at Lake Rotoiti.
1993 – Gary and Valley Neale plant their Brightwater Vineyards home vineyard with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Merlot.
1992-3 – Seifried Estate build their Vineyard Restaurant, Conference and Cellar door complex.
1993-5 – Trevor and Robyn Bolitho establish Waimea Estates with their first vineyards (Annabrook, Hunter, The Hill) with first vintage in 1997
1994 – Spencer Hill Estate produce their fist vintage of wines and in the following year are awarded Champion White Wine of the Show in the Liquorland Top 100 1995
1994 – Seifried Estate awarded Silverado Trophy for the Best Sauvignon Blanc at 25th International Wine & Spirit competition in UK for their 1993 Sauvignon Blanc
1995 – Rimu Grove Winery established by Patrick Stowe on the coast in the Moutere Hills
1995-96 – Seifried Estate build a new winery and relocate to Appleby.
1996 – Kaimira Estate pull out kiwifruit vines and plant grapes at River Terrace Road, joining the Sustainable Winegrowing NZ pilot programme.
1997 – Spencer Hill Estate win Champion Chardonnay Worldwide Mission Hill Trophy at the International Wine & Spirits Competition, London.
1997 – Middle-Earth planted vines on their property in Brightwater.
1998 – Waimea Estates first vintage of Sauvignon Blanc (1997) wins a Trophy at Winestate Magazines Wine of the Year Awards
1998 – Greg and Amanda Day establish Kahurangi Estate at the original Seifried site in Upper Moutere.
1999 – Waimea Estates on-site winery in operation, and Hope Vineyard sold to McCashin's
1999 – Brightwater Vineyards release their first vintage of wines.
2000 & 2002 – Spencer Hill Chardonnay wins Champion Wine of the Show, at the International Cardonnay Challenge
2000-7 – Seifried Estate purchase property in Brightwater, build 200,000 m3 irrigation dam, plant 60ha including Austrian varieties Grüner Veltliner and Zweigelt.
2000-1 – Daniel and Ursula Schwarzenbach establish Blackenbrook Vineyard with 4ha grapes and first vintage in 2004. Gravity-fed, eco-friendly winery, finished in 2006.
2001-2 – Woollaston Estates plant Mahana Vineyard (PNPG Riesling) and Burkes Bank Vineyard (SB, PG, Riesling)
2002-5 – Wakatu Inc regain tenths reserve land in Upper Moutere and clear land of gorse, construct dam and plant first vines (pinot gris and pinot noir), later to become Tohu Wines
2004 – Greenhough Vineyard: 2002 Hope Vineyard Pinot Noir wins Decanter World Wine Awards Trophy for best New World Pinot Noir
2004-5 – Kina Cliffs Vineyard planted on the Kina Peninsula
2004 – Greenhough Vineyard 2002 Hope Vineyard Pinot Noir wins Decanter World Wine Awards Trophy for Best New World Pinot Noir.
2005 – Waimea Estates Hope Vineyard repurchased from McCashins.
2005 – Kaimira Estate purchase Woollaston's first vineyard (Wai-iti River) in Waimea West as the site for a new winery.
2006 – Woollaston Estates winery officially opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark
2006 – Kaimira Estates achieve carbon zero certification for all wines under the internationally-accredited programme administered by Land Care Research carboNZerocertTM
2007 – Kaimira Estates open a new winery designed with sustainability uppermost including: solar panels, waste water treatment and re-cycling, computer-assisted temperature control for tanks, and full insulation for the barrel room.
2008 – The Independent Newspaper UK list Brightwater Vineyards 2007.......Nelson Sauvignon Blanc as one of the "Top Ten White Wines from the New World"
2007-8 – Tohu Wines plant 17ha pinot noir and have their first commercial vinatage of pinot gris and pinot noir
2008 – Flaxmore Vineyard planted in the Moutere hills
2009 – Woollaston Estates start managing a trial block organically
2011 – Woollaston Estates harvest first vintage of fully certified organic grapes
2011 – The Middle-Earth brand was established.
2012 – Kaimira Estates named Sustainable Business of the Year for the Southern/Central region (Sustainable Business Network awards)
2012 – Royal Easter Show Wine Awards: Brightwater Vineyards 2009 Lord Rutherford Barrique Chardonnay is awarded Champion Wine of the Show and their winemaker Tony Southgate is named “New Zealand Winemaker of the Year”.
2014 – Waimea Estates Classic Nelson Riesling 2013 was Trophy winner at the New Zealand International Wine Show with Gold Medals awarded to Brightwater Vineyards Lord Rutherford Barrique Chardonnay 2012, Brightwater Vineyards Nelson Pinot Gris 2014, Waimea Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Waimea Classic Riesling 2013, Aronui Nelson Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2014, Blackenbrook Nelson Pinot Gris 2014 and Sea Level Home Block Pinot Gris 2014.
2014 – Air New Zealand Wine Awards Pure Gold medals were awarded to Waimea Estate Pinot Gris 2014, Sea Level Pinot Gris 2014, Blackenbrook Nelson Pinot Gris 2013 and Seifried Nelson Sauvignon Blanc 2014.
2015 – Aronui Wines are awarded the Trophy for Champion Pinot Gris at the Royal Easter Wine Show Awards. The Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Pinot Gris 2014 has been awarded five gold medals in the short time since its release, and has become winemaker Bruce Taylor’s most awarded wine in his career.
2015 – Kaimira Estate took-out the title of Sustainable Vineyard of the Year at the NZ Organic Wine Awards along with gold medals for Richmond Plains and Sunset Valley Vineyard.
2015 – Seifried Estate & Woollaston Estates Winery win gold medals with Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling 2014 and Pinot Noir 2012 respectively at International decanter.com awards.
2015 – Seifried Estate win four gold medals at Berliner Wein Trophy Awards in Germany for three new vintage Sauvignon Blanc’s and a Late Harvest Riesling.
2015 – Blackenbrook Vineyard win a gold medal and the Champion trophy for best Gewurztraminer at Bragato Awards and Brightwater Vineyards win Pure Gold Medal for their 2014 Nelson Pinot Noir.
2015 - Three trophy wines at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards held in Nelson. Brightwater Vineyards win Champion trophy Pinot Noir for their Brightwater Vineyards Pinot Noir Nelson 2014; Waimea Estate win Champion Other White Styles for their Waimea Family Estate Albariño Nelson 2015; and Seifried Estate win Champion Sweet Wine for their Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling Nelson 2015.