James and Annie Millton established their winery on the banks of the Te Arai River, near Manutuke in 1984. Located on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand in the winegrowing region of Gisborne, this was the site where early settlers first planted grapevines in 1871. Annie's father, Mr John Clark, had also developed vineyards on his nearby estate at 'Opou' in Manutuke during the late 1960's.
Prior to establishing the winery, James and Annie gained experience in the wine regions of France and Germany including Champagne Bollinger, Maison Sichel in Bordeaux and Weingut Kurstner in Rheinhessen. After returning to New Zealand in the early 1980's they extensively researched and replanted major parts of the family's grape growing business at the nearby Opou and Riverpoint Vineyards. Extensive planting was also undertaken around the new winemaking and barrel aging facility in the present Te Arai Vineyard. Following the birth of children Monique and Sam, further plantings were established on the river plateaus at either end of the Te Arai Vineyard, Clos Monique and Clos Samuel.
In 1981, Naboth's Vineyard was planted on a steep slope of land that was then part of Papatu Station. Plantings were increased in 2001 on adjacent blocks further around the slope. The grapes grown on this unique hillside amphitheatre are used to produce wines for Millton's ultra premium Clos de Ste. Anne label.
Millton was the first producer in New Zealand to attain BioGro certification for Organic wine production in 1989. Having practiced traditional methods of cultivation and production centred on Bio-dynamic principles since inception, Millton was the first winegrower in the Southern Hemisphere to gain the Bio-dynamic certification Demeter in 2009.
Even Millton's earliest releases were of high quality, not only winning favour with foundation customers, but pleasing the wine judges as well. Recognition was rapidly achieved winning numerous trophies and gold medals for the traditionally styled Riesling and Chenin Blanc. Internationally, gold medals were awarded for the 1992 Gisborne Chardonnay at the International Wine Challenge in London. This wine then went on to win the trophy at the International Organic Wine Challenge Fair, while two other Millton wines entered came second and third. A similar result was achieved at the 2004 San Francisco Wine Fair with Gold medals for the Riesling and Chenin Blanc. The Chenin Blanc also won the trophy, moving it into the position of its current prestige as being a new-world wine classic gaining inclusion in Neil Beckett's"1001 wines to drink before you die" (Published by Penguin in 2008).
Today, Millton wines consistently appear in fine dining rooms worldwide and continue to receive numerous national and international accolades.
Millton Vineyards & Winery are exclusive members of international group "La Renaissance des Appellations" and New Zealand collaboration "The Family of Twelve".
Riverpoint Vineyard sits in the Matawhero Appellation of the Gisborne winegrowing district. The original vineyard was planted in 1978 and in 1997 this vineyard was replanted with Viognier, amongst the first commercial planting of this exotic variety in New Zealand. Situated alongside the old Waipaoa riverbed the soils here contain high levels of fine silt and silken clays and these minerals assist in producing aromatic and dense wines. Proximity to the Pacific Ocean exposes the site to a cooling sea breeze during summer and this effect plays a pivotal role in capturing a special brackish salty aroma and a soft satin flavour.
The Viognier was harvested by hand, fermented in special 300 litre French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks with native yeasts. The Vintage_2013 has the addition of Marsanne (7%) to give depth and Muscat petit Grains (3%) to give a floral lift.
A haunting wine with bristling delicacy, buoyed by a noted mineral edge. Poached pear and warm croissant give a spiced and sappy appeal. The salinity sings the proximity of the vineyard to its maritime environment.