Celebrate 200 years of New Zealand Wine

200 years

200 Years of New Zealand Wine

25 September 1819 was a momentous day for New Zealand wine industry, the first planting of grapevines in New Zealand. The industry has since gained an international reputation for premium, diverse and sustainable wines, and grown to become a $1.83 billion export earner. Join us and help make it a celebration of our whole industry.

The History

In his diary, Marsden prophesied, "New Zealand promises to be very favourable to the vine, as far as I can judge at present of the nature of the soil and climate. Should the vine succeed, it will prove of vast importance in this part of the globe."

Samuel Marsden - NZ History Online

Reverend Samuel Marsden, Chaplain to New South Wales (1765-1838), was the driving force behind the establishment of Anglican mission stations in New Zealand in the early 19th century.

His work and that of his missionaries helped build a relationship of trust with Māori chiefs, paving the way for the acceptance of an official Crown presence in New Zealand.

In his diary, Marsden records on September 25 1819, the day he planted a vine in the rich grounds of the Stone Store, Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands. These pioneering vines were the very first to be planted into New Zealand soils and the recording of this moment is momentous to our industry. 

The first recording in the historical accounts of wine in New Zealand is from James Busby in 1830s. Busby, the Crown’s Resident in New Zealand, lived in what is now called the Treaty House at the Treaty Grounds in Waitangi. Busby was the architect of the Treaty of Waitangi and is regarded as the first winemaker in New Zealand.

In 1840, the first New Zealand wine review was written by a naval officer and explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville. When visiting, he was disappointed to find Busby not in residence, but tasted a wine made by Busby. Onboard his ship, Astrolabe, Dumont d'Urville wrote in his journal, "with great pleasure I agreed to taste the product of the vineyard that I had just seen. I was given a light white wine, very sparkling, and delicious to taste, which I enjoyed very much".


New Zealand Winegrowers celebrated with a ceremonial re-planting at the historic Stone Store, followed by an industry dinner on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

Read New Zealand wine stories

Previous of 3 Next
Displaying 7 to 12 of 16
  • Gisborne

    Millton Vineyards: organic trailblazers

    In celebration of Organic Wine Week, we’re sharing stories from organic wine growers around New Zealand. Millton Vineyards & Winery was established in 1984 and is New Zealand’s first organic & biodynamic winegrower.

  • North Canterbury

    Greystone Wines: 15 years of friendship

    This story doesn’t involve a family, an ambitious couple, or a maverick winemaker. It involves a friendship that started in an empty paddock and grew with a vineyard.

  • Marlborough

    Whitehaven Wines: safe harbour

    In 2019 Whitehaven will celebrate its 25th year in business. They were founded after the owners, travelling by boat, took shelter in the Marlborough sounds during a storm.

  • Central Otago

    Planting Misha's Vineyard

    Spectacularly located on the edge of Lake Dunstan in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago, Misha & Andy Wilkinson’s 57-hectare estate has a ’no compromise’ philosophy across all aspects of viticulture and winemaking.

  • Auckland

    The Decanter interview: David Babich

    Josip Babich was one of the country’s founding winemakers and today his pioneering winery is still family-run, with grandson David at the helm.

  • Nelson

    No regrets with Neudorf

    "Tim and I were fresh from the “back to the land” movement of the late sixties. We wanted to make beautiful wine."

Previous of 3 Next
Displaying 7 to 12 of 16
Back to top