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Church Road Winery is celebrating the life and legacy of Tom McDonald, legendary winemaker, with the launch of the new premium Church Road McDonald Series available from early May.
Tom McDonald (1907-1987) devoted his lifetime to producing outstanding New Zealand wines at the site of the current Church Road Winery in Hawke’s Bay. This dedication to creating fine wines saw him forge both a remarkable legacy and enviable future for the Hawke’s Bay region and Church Road wines today. This new series celebrates his vision and entrepreneurial spirit.
Church Road’s senior winemaker Chris Scott says the Church Road McDonald Series is a range of complex, textural wines full of character.
“We are becoming more confident with traditional French winemaking and this new series was produced utilising some of these techniques. For example, for Chardonnay and some of the Sauvignon Blanc we allow spontaneous wild fermentation to occur, while reds are fermented in large oak cuves. Overall there is less intervention and we bottle the red wines with minimal fining and filtration. It's all about letting go of the reins and working with what nature provides.”
“Each vintage presents the team with different challenges which allows us the opportunity to continue learning and evolving our wines. We are excited about the opportunity to introduce this new range and continue Tom’s vision, combined with our own learnings, using traditional winemaking techniques with Hawke’s Bay’s vibrant fruit,” says Chris.
Church Road McDonald Series wines from Hawke’s Bay feature a Merlot 2009, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Chardonnay 2011 and Pinot Gris 2009. Available throughout New Zealand from leading liquor outlets, independent retailers and Church Road’s Cellar Door from early May 2012, RRP $32.99.
The range also includes three limited varietals, Syrah 2010, Marzemino 2009 and Sauvignon Gris 2011, which will only be available from the Cellar Door and selected restaurants.
The Church Road Hawke’s Bay wine range now includes Church Road RRP $28.99, Church Road McDonald Series RRP $32.99, Church Road Reserve RRP $39.99 and TOM - the pinnacle of Church Road winemaking.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Church Road Winery
Church Road Winery is a boutique winery that applies traditional winemaking techniques to the very best of the Hawke’s Bay harvest. The winery, one of the oldest in Hawke’s Bay, was founded in 1897, and the wines have earned a glowing reputation, becoming one of the most sought-after wine brands in New Zealand.
About Tom McDonald
The Church Road McDonald Series celebrates the life and legacy of Tom McDonald, legendary Hawke’s Bay winemaker.
Born in Taradale, Hawke’s Bay, Thomas Bayne McDonald (1907-1987) was only 14 years old when he started his winemaking career under the European-trained Bartholomew Steinmetz. In 1927, aged just 19 he was left in charge of the winery when Steinmetz went overseas. When Steinmetz died in 1936, Tom purchased the facility and associated vineyard.
By 1949 he had purchased new vineyards, built a new winery and was producing outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon wines under the McDonald wine label. These wines pioneered the modern winemaking era in Hawke's Bay. He went on to win a number of awards and industry accolades for producing premium, complex Chardonnay and Bordeaux-styled wines.
Tom McDonald's wines were recognised as so excitingly superior to anything else in the country at the time that each vintage was snapped up by wine lovers and Tom became known as the ‘Father’ of red wine in New Zealand. His drive and passion for high quality wine saw him forge both a remarkable legacy and enviable future for Hawke’s Bay winemaking.
In 1974 Tom McDonald was awarded the Order of the British Empire for his contribution to the New Zealand wine industry. He retired in 1976 and died in 1987, leaving behind a legacy that remains a cornerstone of winemaking in this country.
As a personal tribute to Tom, Church Road Winery launched TOM from the 1995 vintage, as an exclusive range only produced in exceptional years.