Mayfair Conclusion

It is strange driving up Sturges Road today to discover that the great little building, that was the home of Mayfair Vineyards and that I had photographed on a week or so ago, is now history. Strange too that I felt so upset – I have not ever met the family behind this great place, but can only imagine the struggles they would have been through in recent times seeing all this happen. Would be terrific to be able to meet them one day … who knows. If only I had more time to explore this place before it disappeared. I knew the real estate guy wasn’t up front with me when I approached him seeking some info about the sale. I was relieved when he told me the building was staying!

According to Jack Morris, Mate Ivicevich and Vic Ivicevich were behind Mayfair Wines and came to Henderson in 1948. ” Renowned for their Blackberry Nip ( original of course ) Vic made 42 different wines and liqueurs and was the first to produce and market Cold Duck Sparkling Wine.”
‘Wine Makers and Their Labels’ by Jack Morris

Rescued a few labels from the dump bin. I am pretty sure that Jack Morris would have produced this label for Mayfair.

29 May 2011 – Last time I saw the Mayfair building.


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20 Responses to Mayfair Conclusion

  1. Ian Roberts says:

    Wow-sad. We have the last drops of an original bottle of Glenvale Blackberry Nip still to enjoy, and used to enjoy Cold Duck!
    End of era indeed. May the makers enjoy their retirement knowing that lots of us mourn the passing of the place and the non-availability of the good stuff!

  2. Liz Clark says:

    I’m glad you have taken the images of the old Mayfair Winery. I grew up on Sturges Road surrounded by Nola’s Orchads, Mayfair Vineyards and EasternVineyards and of course the Corban Estate. By the early 1970’s Corbans had sold their Henderson Estate and the developers moved in. It’s a loss to be honest a huge loss that the wine industry in West Auckland is all but gone. I live in Northland now but some time back I visited my old haunts in Henderson and found things were barely what I recalled. So much has changed. Thanks for creating this blog. All the best!

    • stephen says:

      Thanks for your comments and feedback Liz. Like a lot of things – I only wish I had started sooner.
      You obviously saw Struges Road in its prime which must be a great memory.


      • Liz Clark says:

        Hi Stephen

        Yes I did. When I was 8 I visted the Corbans Winery as part of a school trip. I went to Henderson North Primary School. Then they were proud of our win heritage. Collard Brothers of course were one of the big wine makers in the area as well. I went to school with Ivan Ivicevich. His parents owned the Paramount Winery which is now the site of the Waitakere High School There was Lincoln Vineyards as well. All gone, all lost. To be honest I think Waitakere City Council coudl have saved some of these important wineries. But they didn’t. Every time I’ve passed down the North Western Motorway over the years I’ve seen those old dead vines that once used to make some of the best wine in New Zealand. It was a great place to grow up. Just sad it has gone.

  3. Darian Zam says:

    Neat blog! I’m glad someone is focussing on this genre. Brings back a lot of memories of childhood in that area. Everyone went to the local vineyards with their flagons for sherry and such. Borichs, Glucinas, Vlasics, Nobilos, Babichs, Sundes, Selaks, Vitasovichs,Vidanovichs, Soljans, Ozichs, Mazurans and Corbans to name a few – I went to school with many of the kids from wine-making and fruit-growing families.
    Liz we have crossed paths and traded comments before. I grew up around there too and the Nolas were family friends along with other orchardists like the Rosandichs and the Deans. How different it is now. Before my mother sold the family home there was one patch of bush on the creek left that the council cut down while I was there. A far cry from cutting through the orchards and vineyards to school, horses and sheep in the fields, blackberries and pink briar roses running wild, the old rattler still running the tracks, and a pigeon club. That’s all gone now and it’s pretty ugly really.
    Stephen you may be interested to know that there has been a vintage Mayfair blackberry nip bottle with label intact for sale on Trademe at the moment; actually it’s been listed for months.

    • Liz Clark says:

      Hi Darian it just shows you what a small world it is! Good memories of our old haunts cross years later. I’m glad we both have those memories. I’ve written mine down so they aren’t lost. Love this blog it’s made my week. Interesting about the wine labels too. I love wine history it’s fascinating to say the least.

      • stephen says:

        I have not yet thanked you for this comment. Any memories you’d feel comfortable sharing would be awesome.


  4. Darian Zam says:

    It really is a small world!
    “To be honest I think Waitakere City Council could have saved some of these important wineries. But they didn’t. ”
    There’s lots of things the council should have done like save Miss Newey’s cottage. It’s outrageous. Probably the same can be said of councils everywhere though. Unless there’s a campaign from member(s) of the community it doesn’t happen.

  5. Darian Zam says:

    Also check your blog email re some 1950s and 1960s labels I have from Corbans, Vlasic, Glucina, Sokolich etc.

  6. Christine Banks says:

    Wow . How cool to come across this . I knew the family and really want to find Angela , she was my friend growing up . I would love to catch up with her . Vic’s daughter . I spent a lot if time running through the vineyards . Peter was the eldest . I grew up on Sturges Road also . I also went to Henderson North Primary . I love the photos . Thanks for the memories , and the Blavkberry nip was the best !!!

    • stephen says:

      Hi Christine – Thanks for your comments. It is cool to think that people are finding the photos interesting and are happy to share some memories.

    • stephen says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. I am not sure I ever tried the Blackberry Nip – wish I had. It was very sad to miss out photographing the inside of the shop and cellar before it was crushed – by not more than a few weeks… This budding was very special I thought.


  7. Chevyez says:

    I am the one and only true 4th generation male Ivicevich member and the last in the family that we are aware of vic passed a few years back and Edward his youngest and only remaining brother (my grandfather) is getting on. Any information that anybody may have, any photographs of mayfair wines please send to me via email I would love to sit down with my grandfather before he passes and learn about some of my heritage.
    I can guarantee I am the only person in my generation that has ever tasted my family’s blackberry nip, rock n roll or cherry brandy and would give anything to learn more.
    -Mr Ivicevich

    • stephen says:

      Hi There,
      Capturing the stories would be amazing. I am working at doing this with my family as well as the people of Parker Road, Oratia. Using a little rig which gives good audio and video. In those last days I did take a number of shots of the Mayfair and wished I had taken more. It would be wonderful if you had some photos ( historic ) that you’d be happy to share out.
      Keep in touch and do let me know if I can help in getting the stories down.


  8. Geoff says:

    I worked at Mayfair Wines and spirits for many years.
    I used to deliver the North Shore times to the Orewa Shops as a school boy.
    Elaine Ivicevich One day asked me to deliver pamphlets along with the news papers.
    Later Elaine Offered me a job polishing bottles after school.
    Being on the main road of Orewa the passing traffic would send loads of dust into the shop so cleaning the wine bottles was a never ending job.
    In time Elaine offered me a great deal if part time work, serving , ordering Product and replenishing the great barrels of sherry and port on tap. Occasionally I’d run the barrel pumps dry which didn’t impress Elaine.
    Xmas time would be horrendously busy.
    Elaine and I would finish late on Xmas eve Exhausted but always pleased with our efforts.
    She was a very hard working lady and close to being a second mother to me.
    Vic Ivicevish would rearly drop by but when he did you Felt like you were in the
    Presence of a hard working luitenent. I never really understood what he said
    I’d just smile and keep busy. Occasionally Elaine would send me out to One of their properties in Whangapraoa To mow a lawn a do gardening.
    In my current life I own a Crewcut lawn mowing business on the North Shore – I do wonder
    If Elaine had a hand in that somehow.
    I cherished working for the Mayfair wines group , 25 years later I still have fond memories and am saddened to learn of vic and Elaines passing.

    I know this won’t be read but it feels good to leave a bit of history 🙂

    Best wishes Mr & Mrs Ivicevich

    Geoff Sinclair

    • stephen says:

      Hi Geoff,

      What a wonderful memory and thanks for sharing here. I don’t get as much time researching this topic as I had hoped to. It is comments like yours that keep me inspired to continue to gather memories these here.
      The Mayfair building was one of the best for the West. I went back many times to photography it in the later stages and was sad to see it go. I never went inside the building, but did grab a sheet of hardboard from the skip when it was demolished. Stuck on it was a number of label examples.
      Thanks again.

  9. S Cameron says:

    Wow wot an interesting read. I ended up buying the old family home on Sturges Rd. Vic and Elaine’s home we have been here aprox 9 yrs now.

  10. Sue says:

    I loved the Pineapple sling when I was younger. Would have been back in the early 1970’s

  11. Keith Denham (Ewart) says:

    My family lived opposite Mayfair Vineyards in 1959/1960 during the 6 months waiting for a house on Whenuapai AF Base where our father was taking up a Flying Officer posting. During this time I recall “working” with Vic Ivicevich in the vineyards, and loving it !

    Does anyone have any earlier digital maps, or a link, of the area showing the vineyard ?

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