Fredatovich: Peter’s company Lincoln vineyards while based in Henderson had vineyards in Riverlea for many years producing excellent varietal wines.
Anthony & Susan Ivicevich West Brook: Anthony and Susan moved to Kumeu from Henderson and have a long history in the industry and now continue to make this area continue to flouris.
Kerr Farm: Jaison & Wendy Kerr own a block located next to where Corbans vineyard used to be, and they make local wines from grapes grown in their Kumeu vineyard.
Coopers Creek: Started by Andrew Hendry and Randy Weaver, Coopers Creek have done exceptionally well with aromatics particularly Riesling. They consistently win prestigious awards and are particularly successful in the export market.
Waimarie Wines: started by Steve Nobilo’s sons Nick and Stephen who continue this family’s connection with the region.
Malcolm Abel: Malcolm believed in Pinot Noir and it’s place in the future of New Zealand’s wine industry, It is a shame he is not alive today to see what has happen to this variety today and how it has taken off.
Mark Nobilo – a brief Family history
“Kakose, Dobradosli. There was a time when all the winemakers in the Kumeu area spoke in the accent of their forefathers. Our family’s history started with Nikola and Zuva who lived next to the site of the original Konba (Cellar). In 1939 the old man brought 14 acres of land at the current winery site. It was an old run down farm covered in blackberries. He started off with 9 cows and 200 chickens and planted his first grapes in 1943. He grew tomatoes and onions between the rows to supplement his income, which he sold to his Croatian friends who had restaurants in Auckland. If you tried to start a business on these humble beginnings today you won’t get far as the infrastructure has to be so great today.
Along this pathway and journey there were a lot of hurdles to overcome with language being just one of the many social difficulties. Wines were generally promoted by word of mouth and sales were restricted to a minimum of 2 gallons, plus all sales had to be recorded in a sales book which was regularly inspected by the police. Along the way, all these early winemakers like Dad had to be innovative in their own way. In 1956, Dad made an unfortified white table wine from some grapes on the property. It was a good wine, but his customers at the time preferred something with a kick which they got from fortified wines. Even though this white table wine was a good wine he couldn’t sell it, so he had to fortify it and sell it as white port.
In the late 1960’s there was a move in the industry towards classic varieties. A block of land next door was purchased to accommodate new plantings and the family entered into the first of several partnerships with London sprits giant, Gilbeys. As the company continued to grow, it reached a critical stage in 2000 and the family decided to sell and Nobilo wine group is now part of the largest wine company in the world: the US company Constellation.
When I think about all the expansion and growth in the industry and the new areas being planted I can’t forget the Kumeu soils and how good they are for growing great wines. In a good year they are unmatched for wines of longevity and complexity. You just don’t seem to get that the same with other regions. If you could transplant the soils of “Kumeu clays” to these newer regions I feel those wines would rise into yet another class”