Dating from 1897, when Bartholomew Steinmetz planted his vineyard next to Church Road, ours is one of the oldest wineries in the country.
Steinmetz returned to his native Luxembourg in the 1920s, leaving his winery in the hands of the 19-year-old Tom McDonald, who had been working for him since his early teens.
McDonald later bought the winery and started making the first quality red wines in New Zealand, releasing the country’s first commercial Cabernet Sauvignon in 1949. Quality steadily increased and by the 1960s New Zealand’s wine connoisseurs snapped up McDonald’s red wines year after year.
Tom McDonald retired in 1976 and the winery carried on winemaking up until 1981 when a change of ownership saw the winery slowly shut down.
The Church Road Winery was renovated and reopened in 1989 with the express purpose to re-establishing it as the heart of quality red winemaking in New Zealand. From the 1990 vintage we produced our first Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. We keep working to make even better wine and giving visitors an experience they’ll cherish.