Grapes were first planted at Heron's Flight Vineyard and Winery in 1987, by David Hoskins and Mary Evans.
Together they have made wine, raised a family, and run a successful business from the land for over 20 years - it has become their turangawaewae. Over the years they have adjusted many aspects of the business, including the grapes grown in the vineyard and the nature of the original vineyard café. They have also lived on the vineyard land since the early 1990's.
Heron's Flight Vineyard Restaurant and Winemaker's Centre
The lessons learned through 20 years in business, as well as the changes in the environmental and political landscapes since Heron's Flight was first established, culminated in the Heron's Flight Vineyard Restaurant and Winemaker's Centre late in 2006. The facility aimed to provide a welcoming and stimulating environment where people could share Mary and David's respect for the land and its products, as well as their passion for excellent wine, fresh food and the stories of the people from the Matakana area. In 2010, the Heron's Flight Restaurant and Vineyard won the coveted Manaakitanga Award for the most Sustainable business in the wider Rodney District.
Having run a vineyard and winery, as well as a successful restaurant, for so many years, we decided to sell the restaurant side of the business in 2010 and concentrate on making interesting wines- and free ourselves from the daily stresses of a hospitality business.
Back to basics
So now we're going back to basics. Concentrating on grape growing and winemaking exclusively (ie, not also running a busy restaurant), we have been working with Danny Schuster to modify our viticultural techniques and winemaking methods. Danny works with several leading Italian wineries, like the Frescobaldi's, and we are lucky to be working with him.
Making business sustainable
We have attempted to follow sustainable principles where feasible, and have incorporated them into every facet of our business, vineyard and winery. Hence the Manaakitanga Award in 2010.
. This is an ongoing - and actually quite difficult process - following a sustainability path. We do know that it requires vigilance, especially in daily operations.
We consider this to be one of the basic premises of our business.
Our latest media link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3unbKfjhhA
Moving towards organics
With Danny's help, we are using organic methods in our vineyard. No longer do we use herbicides under the vines. Instead opting for grass and 'weeds', to nurture the soil and encourage biodiversity. Our spray regime uses organic chemicals. All of this makes activities more labour intensive. But it's worth it!
We are always happy to share our experiences in group tours and talks. Contact us if your are interested.