Soljans: Five Generations

09 Apr 2019

Five generations stand behind Soljans Estate Winery, one of the oldest family-owned wineries in New Zealand. To celebrate the fifth generation taking up the family business, Soljans have released a Fifth Generation Series Kumeu Chardonnay. 

Bartul Soljans holding grapes on a vine.

Soljans Estate’s story began in 1927, when the first generation, Bartul Soljan set foot on New Zealand soil with his family in tow, following a long trip from Stari Grad, Croatia. 

The family set down roots, as well as vines, on Lincoln Road in Henderson in 1932. The Soljan label was established shortly after in 1937. It was then, that the second-generation Frank Soljan, found his passion in wine.

The third generation was welcomed into the world in the 1940s. Put to work from the word go, Tony, Rex and younger sister Raewyn were picking grapes in the vineyard as soon as they learned to walk.

When the 1970s rolled around, it was time for the third generation, Tony and Rex Soljan, to take their turn running the family business. Tony had just welcomed the fourth generation into the world, his two daughters Tonia and Lisa. The two girls were hands-on in the company and still hold their place on the board of directors alongside their Mum, Tony’s wife Colleen.

It wasn’t until the late 90s that the fifth generation arrived. Tyler and Amber began making wine the old-fashioned way at age five and working throughout the school holidays on the vineyard just as the generations before had done. 

In 2015, the whole family took the trip of a lifetime and visited Stari Grad, to walk along the old cobbled streets and visit their family's old homestead.

Soljans are celebrating Tyler and Amber joining the family business with a collection of premium wines created with a strong influencer and involvement from the fifth generation themselves.

Tyler worked alongside their winemaker Jim Corkin, to produce the Fifth Generation Series Chardonnay. Amber worked alongside the marketing team to design the label. The Fifth Generation Series will house only the best vintages and will expand in the coming years. From vine to glass, these wines are a testament to Soljan’s winemaking heritage. 

Look at the Soljan family photos

Read more stories

Back to top