Highfield is a stunning boutique Marlborough winery producing ultra premium, food friendly wines and owned by Shin Yokoi and Tom Tenuwera.
Famed for its flagship wine, Elstree Cuvée Brut, its iconic Tuscan style tower overlooking the Wairau Valley, outstanding summer dining restaurant and beautiful cellar door, it’s not hard to see why Highfield is one of the most visited wineries in Marlborough.
Attracting visitors from all around the world and situated on the Brookby Ridge, Highfield is surrounded beautiful Pinot Noir vines and has gained international recognition for its range of wines since it was established in 1989.
Focused on quality, head winemaker, Alistair Soper makes Highfield’s classic Marlborough wines with a commitment to consistent quality and style. Limited production, defined styles and rigorous de-classification ensures wines are always elegant and sophisticated. Individual grape and soil characters are respected and reflected in the generous Highfield wines.
Our vision is to share the delights of the outstanding Highfield range with wine lovers and wine learners on a global scale. Highfield is proud of its offering and has a mission to excite, educate and showcase its portfolio to as many people as possible.
Alistair Soper – Winemaker
Educated with degrees in Commerce and Arts, in 1994 Al decided to turn his passion for wine into a career. After completing a Post-Graduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology, he then paid his winemaking dues at Grove Mill for four years while also working vintages in Oregon, Bordeaux and the South of France.
Al was appointed Highfield Winemaker in January 1999 and has since made his mark with a range of award winning wines. He is especially interested in crafting wine styles that enhance, and are enhanced by, great food.
At Highfield, the goal is to make the finest quality Marlborough wines, expressive of their natural characteristics and nurtured with the bare minimum of winemaking influence. When you have exceptional grapes, minimalism is the chosen path for making great new world wines.
Highfield’s Tuscan inspired winery tower, which visitors are welcome to climb, stands on the Brookby Ridge with commanding views over the Wairau Valley. Guests can also get a sneak preview of the inside workings of our winery by taking a walk over the footbridge in the winery.
At the cellar door we offer free tastings of our full Highfield range with our friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Our winter opening hours are Monday through Friday from 10am – 4.30pm. Closed weekends.
Turn off State Highway 6 onto Godfrey Road, turn right into Dog Point Road and left into Brookby Road.
The Wairau Valley
‘Wairau’ is the Maori word meaning ‘many waters’ and is the name of the beautiful braided river that runs alongside our largest vineyard feeding life into the vines and influencing the style of our wine. The Wairau River traces the foothills of the Richmond Ranges and has created the river flood plains of the valley over thousands of years, formed of light, stony soil which is key to the success of Marlborough’s world class style of Sauvignon Blanc. Highfield wines from the Wairau Valley area typically have intense fruit aromatics and fine minerality.
The Southern Valleys
The Southern Valleys are fast becoming renowned for top quality Pinot Noir because of the heavier clay soils, drier climate and cooler temperatures than that of the lower Wairau Valley. Some of the best Highfield Pinot Noir is sourced at Mill Stream vineyard surrounding Highfield in the Omaka Valley. Papillon Vineyard in the Brancott Valley has plantings of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. These gentle, north facing slopes see all day sun giving strong, bright flavours to the grapes and lovely clarity and structure to the wines. Both our Southern Valley Vineyards are farmed organically.
The name Highfield originates from the Walsh family, who hailed from Ireland. They purchased their 365-acre Marlborough farm in 1935 and named it Highfield after an area near Galway Bay in their homeland.
On Highfield farm the Walsh family grew crops, grazed stock and bred horses, eventually handing over the reins to their son Bill and his wife Barbara. Bill was of an entrepreneurial nature, always ready to consider a new venture, and in the mid ‘70’s when he heard that a major New Zealand wine company was considering planting grapes in Marlborough he decided to try his hand.
Bill’s first planting was 2 ½ acres of Muller Thurgau, a medium sweet German grape variety that produced wine meant for drinking young. Before long Highfield’s plantings increased. Quite by accident, Bill and another local grape grower discovered some “rogue” grapes amongst the Muller Thurgau vines in the vineyard. Unsure as to just exactly what these infiltrators were, they took cuttings. The plants that subsequently grew proved to be none other than Sauvignon Blanc. The quality of the wine produced from these grapes encouraged the Walsh family to make and market wine under their own label.
In 1990 the long-awaited opening of the Highfield winery took place and things took off. Soon after though, Bill decided to pursue a quieter life and began to look for a safe pair of hands to pass the winery on to.
He ended up finding two pairs of hands in a Japanese fire fighting industrialist, Shin Yokoi and a Bristol business man, Tom Tenuwera. A wine aficionado, Tom had always been entranced by the spectacular beauty of New Zealand and the warmth of its people. It was a sentiment shared by his old friend Shin, along with a particular interest in the ‘Champagne Trinity” of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. In 1991 Shin and Tom signed a purchase agreement for Highfield.
Shin’s company was Champagne Drappier’s sole agent in Japan, and it was not long before he invited Michel Drappier, scion of the House of Drappier, to help guide Highfield’s Méthode Champenoise, Elstree Cuvée Brut. The first Elstree made in 1993 won a gold medal at the National Wine Show of Australia in 1996. Success followed success with ensuing years earning gold medals and awards for the Elstree, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
From the outset, Shin and Tom have had high aspirations for Highfield, establishing Elstree Cuvée Brut as their flagship wine. Wine writer Bob Campbell MW recently commented, “Highfield’s Elstree Cuvée Brut is impressive with a Champagne-like finesse and power”.
Today talented Kiwi winemaker, Alistair Soper, crafts Highfield’s classic Marlborough wines with a commitment to consistency of quality and style. He traditionally makes a small and focused range of wines: Elstree Cuvée Brut, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.
- Highfield Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (Royal Easter Wine Show 2004, Gold Medal and Champion Wines)
- Highfield Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 (Royal Easter Wine Show 2005, Gold Medal and Champion Wines)
- Highfield Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2004 (Royal Easter Wine Show 2005, Gold Medal and Champion Wines)
- Highfield Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (Champion Export Wine) (Royal Easter Wine Show 2006, Gold Medal and Champion Wines)
- Highfield Marlborough Chardonnay 2005 (Royal Easter Wine Show 2007, Gold Medal Winners)
- Highfield Marlborough Chardonnay 2007 (Royal Easter Wine Show 2009, Gold Medal and Trophy Wines)
- Highfield Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Royal Easter Wine Show 2009, Gold Medal and Trophy Wines)
- Highfield Marlborough Riesling 2008 (Royal Easter Wine Show 2009, Gold Medal and Trophy Wines)
- Highfield Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2002 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2004, Blue Gold Award Winners)
- Highfield Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2004 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2005, Award Winning Wines)
- Highfield Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2005, Award Winning Wines)
- HIGHFIELD ESTATE MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2007 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2008, Award Winning Wines)
- HIGHFIELD MARLBOROUGH PINOT NOIR 2006 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2008, Award Winning Wines)
- HIGHFIELD MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2010, Award Winning Wines)
- HIGHFIELD MARLBOROUGH PINOT NOIR 2007 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2010, Award Winning Wines)
- HIGHFIELD PINOT NOIR 2008 (Sydney International Wine Competition 2011, Award Winning Wines)
- Highfield Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2004 (Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2004, Gold Medal and Champion Wines)
- Highfield Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (Champion Commercial White Wine) (Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2003, Gold Medal and Champion Wines)
- Highfield Estate (1991) Limited Marlborough Chardonnay 2002 (Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2005, Gold Medal and Champion Wines)
- Highfield Lone Gum Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2010, Gold Medal and Trophy Winners)
- Highfield Riesling 2012, Pure Elite Gold and TROPHY (Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2013, Trophy and Gold Medal Wines)
- Boro Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (International Wine and Spirit 2009)
- Highfield Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007 (International Wine and Spirit 2009)
- Highfield Sauvignon Blanc 2004 (International Wine Challenge 2005, New Zealand wines – gold and silver medals)
- Highfield Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 (International Wine Challenge 2009)
Complete your stay in the Marlborough wine region with a relaxing night at Highfield. With stunning balcony views of the Wairau Valley, Highfield’s fully self-contained apartment is only 5 mins from Blenheim airport or 20 mins from Picton. The apartment has one double bedroom, open-plan living, a fully equipped kitchen, laundry, bath and shower, and is equipped with air conditioning.