Gillman Vineyard make one of New Zealands best red wines. A blend of cabernet franc, merlot and malbec, our wine is produced by hand using old world methods.
Winemaker Toby Gillman discovered his passion for wine many years ago as a student, while pitching in voluntarily at a vineyard. In fact, he spent his first student allowance on a bottle of Matakana wine.
Toby soon fell in love with the idea of making wine himself. He and his father John volunteered their labour at New Zealands iconic Providence vineyard. For the next decade, they spent their weekends receiving practical experience by day and educating their palates by night, when the winemaker would repay their labour with excellent dinners and bottles of wine from his cellar of rare French wines.
Our wine tastes like no other New Zealand wine. The climate and soils of Matakana are ideally suited to producing the fruit-driven wines that New Zealand has become famous for, but we use Old World techniques to give our reds the structure of the great wines of Pomerol and St Emilion.
Although each bottle of Gillman wine should reflect the vintage it was made in, all our wines share the same characteristics rich ripe fruit combined with a warm earthiness that comes from the soil our vines are grown in. The finish is long and satisfying, overlaying very soft tannins that will allow the wine to mature and evolve gracefully.
As great wine can only be made from the highest quality grapes, we searched for two years to find the perfect place to establish our vineyard. We chose the Matakana region, an hours drive north of Auckland, New Zealands largest city. Matakanas warm summers and low rainfall create ideal conditions for traditional Bordeaux varieties.
Eventually we found our ideal site - a steep north-facing slope of free-draining, iron-rich volcanic clay, which is sheltered from rain by a mountain range and warmed by the nearby Pacific Ocean. Planting began in 1998 and is closely modelled on the finest Bordeaux vineyards. Dense plantings of vines are set close to the ground so the grapes are warmed by heat rising from the clay. Two-thirds of the vineyard is planted in cabernet franc, which thrives in Matakana, producing a wine of great character. The rest is in merlot, with a small amount of malbec.
The vineyard now covers 1.5 acres small enough that I know every vine, Toby says. Practically everything is done by hand.