At the 2005 Liquorland International Top 100 Wine Awards in Auckland Waipara Hills’ wines were awarded four trophies including Champion Winery of the Show. Trophies were awarded for Champion Pinot Noir, Champion Gewurztraminer, Champion Pinot Gris. Launched as a public wine company in 2001, Waipara Hills was awarded the accolade of fifteenth fastest growing company in New Zealand by Deloitte’s in 2004. Production From 6000 cases in 2001 to over 89,000 cases in 2006 Waipara Hills’ growth has been spectacular.
To facilitate the rising production a purpose-built 2000 tonne state-of-the-art winemaking facility was leased in Marlborough. Known as South Pacific Cellars the facility offers the company’s winemaking team a high tech platform from which to create the best quality award winning wines. Until recently the company owned no vineyards and relied exclusively on long-term relationships with some of New Zealand’s most established quality grape growers in Marlborough and Waipara.
In September 2005 Waipara Hills entered an exciting and significant merger with Marlborough based New Zealand Vineyard Estates Limited. NZ Vineyard Estates brings 325 hectares of premium, mature vineyards into Waipara Hills’ supply chain ensuring enhanced volume and continuity of supply to expanding world markets. The merger was completed on 3rd July 2006 and included the aquisition of a new prominantly placed winery and restaurant facility on State Highway 1 in Waipara. This brings the company's net asset to around $48M
Along with this growth has come a considerable list of international trophies, medals and accolades. For any wine producer to win eight trophies, thirty gold medals and thirty-two silver medals in such a short time is a notable achievement and one which Waipara Hills is proud of. A condensed ‘Honours Board’ for Waipara Hills’ wines is included. The vineyards previously owned by NZ Vineyard Estates were strategically planted in three of New Zealand’s key grape producing regions: Marlborough (Sauvignon Blanc), Waipara (predominately Riesling) and Central Otago (Pinot Noir)
Waipara Hills sources grapes from its own vineyards totalling 968 acres of producing vineyards including 220 acres in Marlborough, 588 acres in Waipara, and 160 acres in Central Otago. The focus of each vineyard is to exploit the terroir of each region by growing grapes best suited to that region. All vineyards are managed on site with small and highly motivated core teams of personnel, and each is of sufficient scale to provide maximum economies.
The Marlborough Delta vineyard comprises 220 acres of Sauvignon Blanc with the potential to produce around 740,000 litres of Sauvignon Blanc juice or the equivalent of 80,000 cases. The 150 acre Home Vineyard at Waipara is planted in Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot. The 278 acre vineyard at The Mound in Waipara is planted predominantly in Riesling with small blocks of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Gewurtraminer. This vineyard is also capable of producing around 740,000 litres of wine the equivalent of 80,000 cases.
The Clearvue Vineyard close to Lake Dunstan at Cromwell, Central Otago consists of 160 acres of Pinot Noir which can produce around 375,000 litres or 40,000 cases of wine. Waipara Hills Winery also holds long term supply contracts with a number of skilled and experienced contract growers in Marlborough. These contracts cover approximately 125 acres (50 hectare) throughout the Central Wairau Valley in Marlborough.