The Waimata Wine label & the Waimata vineyard are central to EIT Tairawhiti’s winemaking & viticulture programme. The onsite winery & vineyard enable students who partake in the one-year programme to apply theoretical skills taught in class, to actual vineyard management & commercial wine production.
The Waimata Wine label and the Waimata vineyard are central to EIT Tairāwhiti’s Winemaking & Viticulture programme.
In 1988 a 15.5 hectare site on the banks of the Waimata river was set aside by the Public Trust as a condition of a will that a portion of the land be used for furthering rural education studies. Established in 1990, Waimata Vineyard covers an area of 1.6 hectares within this land and the winery has sufficient capacity to process a maximum 70 tonnes of fruit each year.
Initially planted as a collection of Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, and Sangiovese these varieties have been added to and changed as the suitability of the site has become evident and Waimata vineyard is now made up of Malbec, Merlot, Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. In addition to the Waimata vineyard, there is also a young vineyard at EIT Tairawhiti’s Rural Studies campus, home to just over half a hectare of Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris.
Waimata Vineyards Chardonnay Voigner 2012
Waimata Vineyards Cognoscenti Syrah 2009 – Bronze
Waimata Vineyards Chardonnay 2012
Waimata Vineyards Connoscenti Chardonnay 2012
Waimata Vineyrds Cognoscenti Syrah – Silver
Both the Waimata and Congnoscenti wine brands are sold commercially at various stockists in the North Island.
The Waimata range offers the ability to innovate and respond to vintage conditions with the current release being a fruit driven lightly oaked Chardonnay. The fresh contemporary design reflects the current philosophy and has so far been a hit with all that have experienced.
Brent Laidlaw - Tutor and Winemaker
Brent Laidlaw worked for industry giant Montana for more than 16 years. He may have started in a temporary vintage position, but his talent was quickly recognised and as Senior Winemaker, Brent has been responsible for some of Montana’s most applauded wines.
The history of the land
Located on the banks of the Waimata river, the land for the vineyard was originally acquired by the New Zealand Government through the New Zealand Native Land Settlement Company Limited and was designed “freehold” in April 1871, a parcel of the then known Whataupoko No 9 Block.
The first land title went to Mr William Morrison in 1888, and after moving through several hands it was evenutally sold to William Cooper McLean in 1908. Known as Gowerville, William McLean farmed the land until his death in January 1923. Inherited by his three children, the farm was eventually owne dby Walter William McLean (one of William Cooper’s sons) and was farmed by him until his death in 1973.
None of William Cooper’s children married, so the New Zealand Public Trust now manages the land.
Part of Walter William’s will asked that a portion of the land be set aside and used for furthering rural education studies, so in 1988 a 15.5 hectare site was set aside by the Public Trust for use by students studying at EIT Tairawhiti. Waimata vineyard covers an area of 1.8 hectares within this land.