The story of Elephant Hill began in 2001, not with an elephant (though the founder’s love of elephants inspired the name) but with a Jaguar – of the motoring kind. Roger Weiss, successful German businessman and vintage car fanatic, was desperate to own a rare Jaguar MKII. The good news: the exact model existed! Less good news: it needed remodelling at a specialist bodyshop in some faraway corner of New Zealand (Roger lived in Dusseldorf). Never one to let minor obstacles such as 11,500 miles get in his way, Roger duly flew south with his wife Reydan, to collect it. Little did the couple imagine that they would return from the Hawke’s Bay not only with their sleek new Jaguar, but a sizeable acreage of prime vineyard land too! This is a far longer story (should you wish to read it, see brochure in C&B library) but fast forward a few years, and Elephant Hill was born.
Elephant Hill is an exceptional estate. Head Winemaker Steve Skinner and his team are renowned for their meticulous viticulture and winemaking, combining time-honoured methods and innovative technology. With vineyards in three contrasting sub-regions - coastal Te Awanga, Bridge Pa and the inland Gimblett Gravels – the team enjoys unrivalled access to grapes with distinctive personalities. This is important for an estate grounded in the Old World philosophy of ‘terroir’, the belief that all great wines should express the unique character of their site. Elephant Hill’s devotion to classic French fine wine regions is evident – its wines are a living homage to Burgundy, the Loire and the Northern Rhone.