Mahana Estates

Our Story

Mahana, which means ‘warm place’ in Maori, is nestled in the Upper Moutere Hills located west of Nelson City, New Zealand. The vineyard was founded in 2000 when Glenn Schaeffer and Philip Woollaston shared a vision of creating a world-class winery destination that would offer the very best in wine, cuisine, and accommodation.

Years later, we are at the forefront of new producers in New Zealand, creating dynamic and thought-provoking wines from dry-grown and organically farmed vineyards. We combine traditional winemaking practices with alternative thoughts and ideas in order to express the land in our own way.  We hold the belief that by following the rules you can make good wine, but only by challenging the status quo and honouring your intuition can you create a work of art. 

All of our grapes are estate-grown in organic, dry-farmed vineyards. This regime gives us complete quality control. The purpose-built, four-level gravity-flow winery affords us additional control allowing us to make wines with minimum intervention and without the need for pumps and excessive handling.

Our winemaker, Michael Glover, believes the best wines are “not forced or pushed, and they are definitely not manipulated. The winemaker guides the fruit in a direction that he or she thinks will best ‘capture’ or ‘reflect’ the place in which they are grown. It can be beautiful, artistic, expressive, philosophical and VERY personal. The very best wines are sincere wines and display integrity and commitment right through the process. These are wines that have a soul!” 

The model of winemaking at Mahana is fundamentally centred on the expression of ‘terroir’. This ancient Burgundian philosophy is about placing the highest value on the site, season and soul of the land on which the vines are grown. With our focus on expressing terrior, we make wine without the addition of acids, enzymes and various other extraneous products and only use indigenous, ‘wild’ yeasts for fermentation. We are driven by the desire to express the uniqueness our land and don’t shy away from exploring alternative winemaking ideas like the use of skin fermentation on whites or the traditional practice of 100% whole bunch fermentation on pinot noir to achieve this. 

As Michael puts it, “A believer in terroir understands that we are not of the Old World but of the New…so our wines should reflect that. We must find our own path. We must not make wines how they ‘should be’ but, rather, be brave enough to make wines how they ‘could be’.”