History of the Nelson Wine Region

1841-44 ...Initial NZ Company settlers arrive from Europe including the first German immigrant group at Upper Moutere and Ranzau.

1868.......F H M Ellis & Sons produce "substantial volumes" of wine from grapes and other fruit at Motupipi in Golden Bay for a continuous 70 years, closing in 1939

1870.......Christopher and Peter Frank produce well regarded Golden Chasselas wine in Nelson through the 1880s

1872.......Government Viticulturist Romeo Bragato finds Nelson "admirably suited to cultivation of vines and fruit trees" and "has no hesitation in advising the residents to plant vines on a large scale"

1967-76...Viggo du Fresne produces wine from his stony vineyard at Ruby Bay from Seibel and Italian varietals and becomes the second grape wine licensee in the South Island. Multi-tiered winery spilling down the hill; the grapes are hauled in at the top and wine racked from barrel to barrel down to bottling and sales at the bottom.

1972.......Rod Neill produces Pinot Noir (Bachtobel) along with Breidecker, Seibel 5455, and Cabernet Sauvignon under the Victory label at Stoke.

1973....... Hermann and Agnes Seifried buy orchard land in Upper Moutere. A Weinsburg graduate, Hermann is the first trained winemaker in the region. Grape cuttings were sourced from Ruakura research station and Massey University (rootstock and scion wood) for grafting, varieties included Pinot Chardonnay, Riesling, Grey Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Sylvaner, Gewürztraminer, Golden Chasselas,Pinot Blanc, Gamay Beaujolais, Pinot Noir (Bachtobel) and Refosco. The rootstocks available were 1202 and Rupestris St George.

1974.......Seifried Estate plant first five acre vineyard with grafted plants.

1976.......Craig and Jane Gass establish Korepo Winery at Ruby Bay growing Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.

1976.......Seifried harvest their first crop. The wines were released for sale from Cellar Door/Mail order and to a very limited number of restaurants and wine retailers at Labour Weekend 1976. By the end of summer all wines had sold out.

1978.......Tim and Judy Finn (Neudorf Vineyards) plant a range of vinifera varieties including Pinot Noir at Neudorf in Upper Moutere. First vintage was 1981 with Chardonnay and later Pinot Noir as the major varieties.

1980.......Ranzau Vineyards established by Trevor Lewis planting Riesling Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir.

1980.......Pomona Vineyard established by Andy du Fresne above Ruby Bay plants the first 10/5 Pinot Noir in the region.

1982.......Seifried purchase 18ha in Redwood Valley and extend planting of mainly Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Noir

1982.......Neudorf establish the first licensed vineyard winebar in the South Island.

1983.......Seifried export first wines to the UK.

1984.......Glover's Winery established by Dave and Penny Gloverin Upper Moutere.

1987.......Seifried export first shipment to Germany

1989.......Dave Heraud establishes Waiwera Estate below the limestone cliffs at Clifton in Golden Bay, 120 years after the pioneering Ellis Bros.

1990.......Greenhough Vineyard is established by Jenny Wheeler and Andrew Greenhough at the old Ranzau winery site.

1991-94...Nelson Region hosts the initial Southern Pinot Noir workshops at Lake Rotoiti.

1993.......Gary and Valley Neale plant their Brightwater Vineyards home vineyard with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Merlot.

1992-3...Seifried Estate build their Vineyard Restaurant, Conference and Cellar door complex.

1993-5...Trevor and Robyn Bolitho establish Waimea Estates with their first vineyards (Annabrook, Hunter, The Hill) with first vintage in 1997

1994.......Spencer Hill Estate produce their fist vintage of wines and in the following year are awarded Champion White Wine of the Show in the Liquorland Top 100 1995

1994.......Seifried Estate awarded Silverado Trophy for the Best Sauvignon Blanc at 25th International Wine & Spirit competition in UK for their 1993 Sauvignon Blanc

1995.......Rimu Grove Winery established by Patrick Stowe on the coast in the Moutere Hills

1995-96...Seifried Estate build a new winery and relocate to Appleby.

1996....... Kaimira Estate pull out kiwifruit vines and plant grapes at River Terrace Road, joining the Sustainable Winegrowing NZ pilot programme.

1997.......Spencer Hill Estate win Champion Chardonnay Worldwide Mission Hill Trophy at the International Wine & Spirits Competition, London

1998.......Waimea Estates first vintage of Sauvignon Blanc (1997) wins a Trophy at Winestate Magazines Wine of the Year Awards

1998.......Greg and Amanda Day establish Kahurangi Estate at the original Seifried site in Upper Moutere.

1999.......Waimea Estates on-site winery in operation, and Hope Vineyard sold to McCashin's

1999.......Brightwater Vineyards release their first vintage of wines.

2000 & 2002...Spencer Hill Chardonnay wins Champion Wine of the Show, at the International Cardonnay Challenge

2000-7...Seifried Estate purchase property in Brightwater, build 200,000 m3 irrigation dam, plant 60ha including Austrian varieties Grüner Veltliner and Zweigelt.

2000-1...Daniel and Ursula Schwarzenbach establish Blackenbrook Vineyard with 4ha grapes and first vintage in 2004. Gravity-fed, eco-friendly winery, finished in 2006.

2001-2...Woollaston Estates plant Mahana Vineyard (PNPG Riesling) and Burkes Bank Vineyard (SB, PG, Riesling)

2002-5...Wakatu Inc regain tenths reserve land in Upper Moutere and clear land of gorse, construct dam and plant first vines (pinot gris and pinot noir), later to become Tohu Wines

2004.....Greenhough Vineyard: 2002 Hope Vineyard Pinot Noir wins Decanter World Wine Awards Trophy for best New World Pinot Noir

2004-5...Kina Cliffs Vineyard planted on the Kina Peninsula

2004.......Greenhough Vineyard 2002 Hope Vineyard Pinot Noir wins Decanter World Wine Awards Trophy for Best New World Pinot Noir.

2005.......Waimea Estates Hope Vineyard repurchased from McCashins.

2005.......Kaimira Estate purchase Woollaston's first vineyard (Wai-iti River) in Waimea West as the site for a new winery.

2006.......Woollaston Estates winery officially opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark

2006.......Kaimira Estates achieve carbon zero certification for all wines under the internationally-accredited programme administered by Land Care Research carboNZerocertTM

2007.......Kaimira Estates open a new winery designed with sustainability uppermost including: solar panels, waste water treatment and re-cycling, computer-assisted temperature control for tanks, and full insulation for the barrel room.

2008.......The Independent Newspaper UK list Brightwater Vineyards 2007.......Nelson Sauvignon Blanc as one of the "Top Ten White Wines from the New World"

2007-8.....Tohu Wines plant 17ha pinot noir and have their first commercial vinatage of pinot gris and pinot noir

2008....... Flaxmore Vineyard planted in the Moutere hills

2009.......Woollaston Estates start managing a trial block organically

2011.......Woollaston Estates harvest first vintage of fully certified organic grapes

2012.......Kaimira Estates named Sustainable Business of the Year for the Southern/Central region (Sustainable Business Network awards)

2012.......Royal Easter Show Wine Awards: Brightwater Vineyards 2009 Lord Rutherford Barrique Chardonnay is awarded Champion Wine of the Show and their winemaker Tony Southgate is named "New Zealand Winemaker of the Year".