Buffy and Michael Eaton
Takahiro Koyama - Current Managing Director/Winemaker. Takahiro was a Japanese student studying viticulture and oenology at Lincoln University first met Michael in 2004 at the International Pinot Noir Conference in Wellington. A glass of Mountford Chardonnay (at a Pinot conference!) offered by Michael prompted Takahiro to visit Michael and Buffy at the winery later on, searching for another glass of that elegant Chardonnay. Takahiro started working at Mountford and was assistant winemaker from 2007 to 2012. During this time he helped make the elegant Burgundy-style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that Mountford Estate is known for, as well as an Alsace inspired field blend wine of co-planted varieties (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Gewürztraminer) from the steep limestone slopes that the winery nestles into.After doing vintages at other wineries in Europe and America, Takahiro established Koyama Wines Limited with the help of financial backup from wine-loving Japanese medical doctors. With further investment, the company ended up purchasing Mountford Estate in 2017, which means he came back to the starting point of his winemaking career where he has a lot of fond memories.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling
The vineyard is set in a park-like environment on the North West face of the Waipara Valley’s eastern hills below the Teviotdale range. Dubbed the golden mile, as the aspect gains high amounts of light and heat. The soils, which are marl (active limestone), add a fine minerality to the finished wines. Vineyards are planted from spacious 2.7m x 1.2m through to high density 1.8m x 1m rows. Since the first plantings New Zealand viticulture equipment has adapted to enable higher density planting particularly beneficial to pinot noir and chardonnay.
The property sits at Latitude 43 with an Elevation 93m / 305ft above sea level (midpoint of the property). While high up on the limestone slopes with a stunning out look across the Waipara Valley the estate does not escape frosts. Each spring they must take on Jack Frost to protect the vines by circulating warm air from an LPG burner behind the tractor. Canopy management is vigorous with the aim of keeping the constant spring and summer growth open and light – letting the nor-westers and North Canterbury sun keep the vines disease free.
Established in 1991 by Buffy and Michael Eaton, Mountford Estate is a boutique vineyard and winery set on a hillside in a stunning park-like environment in the Waipara wine region of North Canterbury. The story behind Mountford is one of passion, shown simply by tasting their wine. With attention to every detail, the result is an elegant, stylish and unforgettable experience.
Initially planted in 1991, and added to in 2000, 2008 and 2013, the total plantings now sit at 9.3 hectares of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. The 21 year old vineyard grows on an area of land dubbed ‘The Golden Mile’. A high amount of heat and light, combined with the soil make-up of clay on top of marl with active limestone deposits, are just some of the reasons for the site being selected.