The Story

We love sharing our stories, wines and why our Gisborne wine region is truly distinctive

The journey so far

The Matawhero journey started with two New Zealand wine pioneers from the 1960s. Today the story continues around the drive and determination of Kirsten and Richard Searle. who purchased the Matawhero vineyard and winery in Gisborne from Denis in 2008. They are the trusted Kaitiaki (guardians) of Matawhero and continue to develop the iconic winery and share the distinctive wine styles of the Tairawhiti-Gisborne region. They produce famous New Zealand Chardonnay and other wines including aromatics like Gewürztraminer and lovely Reds.

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the passing of the Baton
a colorful history

The Passing of the Baton for this Historic NZ Winery

The Matawhero winery and vineyards in Gisborne were purchased by Kirsten and Richard Searle in 2008 from New Zealand pioneer winemaker Denis Irwin. After a rigorous process on Denis’s part to ensure that the baton was being passed to someone equally as passionate about wine and the region as he was, he willed us on and the hard work began replanting and revitalising the historic winery.

Their love of the region runs deep, Richard grew up here and with a family history of growing grapes they wouldn’t want to be doing anything else!

Kirsten & Richard Se

A Colourful History for this NZ Winery

Matawhero has a colourful history that underpins our journey so far. Our first vintage in 1975 under the watch of Bill and Denis Irwin put New Zealand on the world wine map with a reputation for rebellious and flamboyant flavours and varietals. Son Denis imparted his own colourful style and won fame for his Gewurztraminer and famous New Zealand Chardonnays – everyone was drinking it, even the Queen!

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Bill and Denis Irwin