New Zealand Outline Map
In the late 1980s, Montana were seriously considering their future in Hawke’s Bay while increasing the proportion of grapes they grew in-house. Their wider portfolio of wines could find a place for the higher yields of some varieties from the Korokipo land.
Looking down onto Te Mata Estate’s Coleraine block and the Tukituki River flats over the iconic Buck house designed by Ian Athfield. Toby Buck
From the beginning, Chris Pask was impressed by the Merlot and Cabernet fruit coming off the silty, sandy and gravelly soils of the Gimblett Road property:
The Gimblett Road land is typically shy bearing but very good quality. You don’t get such big berries as you do on the heavy clay land, thank God, so the wine quality is very good there
But by 1990 I soon found a little learning is a very dangerous thing – if it wasn’t for people like Alwyn Corban and Kate [Radburnd] when she was at Vidal giving me advice and helping me with some tests and all that sort of thing, we would have had some disasters!
Despite these doubts, the fruit from the young vines soon showed its qualities, the first commercially produced wines being judged New Zealand’s best red several years running by Cuisine magazine in the mid-1980s. By the 1991 vintage, Kate Radburnd was employed as the first professionally trained winemaker at CJ Pask. She knew the grapes she would be working with because Vidal had bought grapes from these Pask vineyards: