Murdoch James Estate

Hand-picked, hand sorted, hand-plunged. At Murdoch James, you won’t find machine harvesters or trucks delivering the fruit. We use oak barrels, and we fine the traditional way using egg whites.
Our philosophy is simple, respect the old ways and use the hands to create smooth textured wines with a sense of place.

Wine styles

Sustainability Stories

All About the Cows

Biodiversity

We run a herd of pretty cows. Black Angus and Belted Galloway's. Our darlin's have two jobs: 1. To look good grazing from the adjoining Restaurant (no belted Galloway hamburgers served here!) 2. To consume the stalks, stems, grape skins and marc of each vintage. They love their vintage diet, and they perform an extremely important task of keeping the winery free of fruit flies by consuming the grape by-product of the harvest and winemaking process. Yes, they are pretty - but not quite so at 6am in the morning, as they come hurtling down the hill, snorting steam and… Continue reading →

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News

In an earlier blog, I promised if I been unfairly critical of the "Premium" Selection Pinot Noir, made from French and Kiwi wine, that I wrote about, I correct any misunderstandings. Well I don't  need to do that with this wine at all.…

I always get asked, "What's news" at Murdoch James? Well, there is certainly some fantastic news to share today.…

This is the little rascal

Bargain Pinot Noir?

Birth of a Wine Blogger has been in hibernation for a while, a bit like our dormant vines.  Recently I was woken from my slumber by a colleague in the industry sending me a link to a Facebook post he had published. He was making the point that a certain Pinot Noir (see link) is on promotion in supermarkets for just $10 a bottle.…

Boutique vineyards excluded from Air New Zealand in-flight and airport lounge wine selections

Air New Zealand (R) In a letter dated 20 May 2015, Air New Zealand announced sweeping changes to their wine selection process.…

No need to take your wine on holiday now!

In the past if you went on holiday to Fiji, you had to take your Murdoch James Estate wines with you. I remember a holiday in Rakiraki where I took two cases to see me through (don't ask how long two cases lasted me and my mate Mike!); and a lot of excess baggage and customs duty. Liam Hindle Well no more.…

Sheep versus Machines - Who Wins?

In past vintages we have always used machines or people to do our leaf plucking. The plucking is intended to remove leaf material from around the bunches so that sunlight can penetrate through to the berries. It also helps air circulate and so reduce the risk of fungal disease.…

Pinot Gris at Murdoch James

Same Pinot Gris Vine after just 20 days! Just to show how fast they grow, here is a picture of the same vine that was in my post of 20 November; just a touch over 2 weeks ago. Check out just how much more dense the canopy has become in just a that time.…

2013 Vintage Looking Good

Pinot Gris, 26 Nov. 2012. I went out today to take the attached photos of Pinot Gris and could not help feeling we may be in for one of the really good vintages in 2013. I know it is not a good thing to celebrate too early but the current vintage is looking great for us at Blue Rock.…

Tough Vintage for 2012

I am currently travelling in Queensland, Australia, working with our major client's key stores; Vintage Cellars and First Choice. These are both top wine chains in the Australian market, with knowlegeable staff. The stores stock a great range of wines too. If you live in Australia, check them out sometime.…

View from the 101st Floor!

I received a lot of e-mails about my last post, mainly around how high is 101 stories in a skyscraper? Well it is approx 1/2 a kilometer tall (500meters). And what does that feel like? Well the best way to visualise what that means is to look at the view from a window......…

Not all beer & skittles

One of the great pleasures of making and selling wine is meeting your importers and agents all around the world. This week I am in Hong Kong promoting our wines with our importers there (Nathan Fine Wines). Not the best time of the year to be here; hot, humid, crowds... But, it's not all bad.…

Excise: And you thought I was exaggerating

Last week I posted a blog on my favourite hate: Excise. You may have thought I was overstating the cost to the industry? Well consider this: Over $2.00/bottle of wine sold in New Zealand goes to the government.…

Project Update

Well, vintage 2012 is over. A smaller harvest than anticipated, but nice quality fruit to work with. We are pleased to have made some very good wines, and having the nice new winery to work in really made it all go very smoothly.…

MJE Video on You Tube

We have just reached the end of vintage and have celebrated that milestone by twisting winemaker Carl's arm to make this video - enjoy!

Is it really two months since my last post?! New winery under construction The new winery is now making great progress, the landscaping is almost all complete, and the grapes are ripening - slowly in response to our cold, rainy summer.…

Industry Blues not for Murdoch James

In the past 2 years, the New Zealand wine industry took a hammering from low priced competition, high exchange rates, the global financial crisis, over-production, high gearing, and banks not making credit available (interestingly these were the same banks that 4 or 5 years ago were throwing money at vineyards, but that's banks for you).…

Last Sunday, 20th of November celebrated 20 years of Toast Martinborough. It was a beautiful day with over 11,500 people sharing good food, wine and music with the region's wineries. A wonderful day was had by all at our Toast Martinborough site this year.…

They tell me it will look good when finished!

New Grand Entrance (to be)  Many of you have asked for more information on what we are doing with building extensions and landscaping. There are quite a few things under way. The tasting room is being extended to cater for the increasing number of visitor who join us for tastings or the incredibly popular 'Grape to Glass'tour.…

Amazing happenings at Murdoch James Estate

There are exciting times ahead at Murdoch James Estate. New stairway down cliff under construction We have recently purchased an adjoinging vineyard which now takes us up to 38 hectares of planted vines, and are building a new winery. Plus we are undertaking a major landscaping project to make the site look even more appealing to visitors.…

'Moby Dick'

At Murdoch James Estate, we have one of the oldest if not the oldest, balloon presses in New Zealand. It is a Wilmes, made in Germany, and dates from the late 1950's we believe. This is not one of your modern computer controlled, hands-off, "press 'start' and come back later" wine presses.…

Not all just hard work!

A few months ago, Nicola asked me if I would help Lynn (who runs our cellar door facility at the vineyard), with a Women's Expo in Palmerston North. What a chore I thought. Until I got there. I was one of only a few men in a room of hundreds of women.…

New Beginnings!

What's new at Murdoch James Estate then? Well, those that follow my blog will know, we are fully committed to sustainable practices, and to us that means more than just monoculture and industrial scale wine making. For a long time now we have partnered the grapes with sheep to mow the grass, and have run Angus cattle on our unplanted land.…

Lab Work

I sometimes think a lot of folk get the impression that wine is all about growing the grapes in the vineyard and then converting them to wine in the winery. That is true to a large extent, as is the reality that the making of a great wine comes down to the creative talents of the winemaker.…

Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and all the other Pinots!

Followers will have read in some my old blogs that Pinot Noir is a grape that can mutate quickly to Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Meunier. In each variety there are also lots of different clones. All occur quite naturally - no genetic engineering here!  I found a good explanation of this recently on the 'pinotnoir.com' website.…

www.murdochjames.co.nz

  • Address: 284 Dry River Road
    Martinborough, 5781
  • Postal: PO Box 37
    Martinborough, 5741