John Buck OBE of Te Mata Estate installed in NZ Wine Hall of Fame

John Buck OBE, creator of New Zealand’s first great red wine, Te Mata Estate Coleraine cabernet merlot (some say its greatest wine, full stop), has been installed in New Zealand wine’s Hall Of Fame. 

Buck, who turned 70 this month, has been involved in virtually every facet of Kiwi wine, including chairing both the national organisation – the New Zealand Wine Institute – and the national wine competition, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards. 

Te Mata Estate wines, including Elston Chardonnay, Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc, Bullnose Syrah, and the twin cabernet merlots, Coleraine and Awatea, are all leading examples of their styles. An interesting point of difference is that Te Mata Estate has never gotten involved in the newest Hawkes Bay sub-region, the fashionable Gimblett Gravels, and one senses a degree of bloody-mindedness in Buck’s determination to stick with the Havelock North area that’s historically grown Hawkes Bay’s best red grapes, supplemented by the Triangle area. 

John Buck has never been the winemaker, but is a very hands-on proprietor. Some of the credit for these great wines goes to long-serving chief winemaker Peter Cowley. Today Nick Buck, son of the founder, is also involved in the business. 

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