A PIONEER OF THE HAWKE’S BAY WINE INDUSTRY
It has been 125 incredible years since the journey began on the site where Church Road now stands. 125 years of capturing the riches of the Hawke’s Bay region, harnessing the natural terroir and individual character of the vineyards.
Today, Church Road continues to strive for consistent evolution of our wines and has been awarded some of the highest accolades from global wine writers, and some of the highest wine show awards.
The winery was established in 1897 by Bartholomew Steinmetz, a Luxembourg émigré who had come to New Zealand to make wine for the Marist Brothers Catholic Mission (now the Mission Winery).
Tom McDonald, a 14-year-old school leaver of Scottish extraction, employed to wash recycled bottles.
Tom was a rather entrepreneurial young man, and by the age of 19, Tom had leased the entire property and ran the business as his own. By the time he was 29, Tom purchased the property outright, before selling a shareholding to raise capital for expansion.
Not only did Tom have a head for business, but he also developed a passion for the great wines of France, and at a time when the New Zealand industry was largely entrenched in cheap fortified wine production, Tom was developing the first commercial plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in Hawke’s Bay.
New Zealand wine connoisseurs snap up McDonald’s red wines year after year.By the 1960’s Tom was producing wines with the help of Montpellier trained Hungarian born winemaker Denis Kasza, which became very collectable and are widely credited for pioneering the beginnings of a quality renaissance in New Zealand viticulture.
Tom McDonald passes away, leaving behind a legacy of quality winemaking.Over time, McDonald became one of the founding fathers of New Zealand winemaking. He was recognised for his contribution with a prestigious Order of the British Empire, awarded in 1974 and is, of course, the man whose name is attributed to Church Road’s TOM wines.
Church Road Winery is renovated and re-established as the heart of premium red winemaking in New Zealand.
Two French winemakers from Domaines Cordier in Bordeaux impart traditional French winemaking techniques. The first wine was produced under the Church Road label, at the very site that Steinmetz and McDonald had established.
First vintage of TOM Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot is crafted to honour the legacy of Tom McDonald.
Chris Scott appointed as Lead Winemaker
Under the steadfast stewardship of four-time Winestate New Zealand Winemaker of the Year, Chris Scott, Church Road continues to craft a portfolio of wines, each with distinction and artistry, honouring those winemakers, viticulturalists and others that got us here.
HOW TO FIND US
Cellar Door: Monday – Sunday 10:30am – 4:30pm
Restaurant: Monday – Sunday 11:30am – 3:00pm
Closed: some Public Holidays.