Winemaker Toby Gillman discovered his passion for wine many years ago as a student, while pitching in voluntarily at a vineyard. In fact, he spent his first student allowance on a bottle of Matakana wine.
Toby soon fell in love with the idea of making wine himself. He and his father John volunteered their labour at New Zealand’s iconic Providence vineyard. For the next decade, they spent their weekends receiving practical experience by day and educating their palates by night, when the winemaker would repay their labour with excellent dinners and bottles of wine from his cellar of rare French wines.
In 1997, Toby traveled to Bordeaux where he spent a vintage working at premier grand cru Chateau Angelus to learn first hand how the finest Bordeaux wine is made. While he was there, he became known as “L’espion”, or ‘The Spy’, due to the amount of notes and photographs he took!
On his return in 1998, the Gillman family began to work towards their dream by establishing their vineyard in New Zealand’s Matakana region. Their aim is to make the finest wine in the country using Old World techniques perfected in the vineyards of Bordeaux to make small quantities of exceptional wine. “We make wine that we enjoy drinking – it must be good with food, yet also be approachable and pure pleasure to drink.”