TURANGA CREEK VINEYARD is a Biodynamic estate vineyard and winery in the Auckland region of New Zealand’s North Island.
OWNERS | The Allen family.
STAFF | Winemaker: Rod Macdonald. Biodynamic consultant: Margi (Margaret) Boswell (vineyard manager here until 2013).
BACKGROUND | “Turanga” was the original name for the area. But in the early 1900s after a shipment of mail was sent to “Tauranga” by mistake, it was decided to change the name to Whitford. Debate still goes on about whether this was named after local flax mill owner and part time postman Mr Richard Whitford, or after the local “white ford” made of white stepping stones that was used to cross Turanga Creek. The tangata whenua of the area, Ngai Tai, are based at Umupuia and trace their ancestry back to the Tainui canoe. The word “Turanga” has many interpretations but in this case it means “stand firm”, after the safe anchorage the area gave to Tainui.
Part of the 2,500 acre “Whiteford Park” estate was bought in 1869 by Mr LD & NA Nathan. They farmed ostriches and held horse racing events attended by boatloads of Aucklanders who arrived at Mr Nathan’s private wharf. The Nathans, who were merchants and property developers, subdivided the block in 1909. During World War II the property was farmed by Bill and Blanche Macey. The property became a dairy farm, complete with a cow shed, on Brownhill Rd. The cow shed has since been demolished, and now an old drilling bore stands at the site. However the original portion of the stables, which was probably built by the Macey’s, will now be used for a temporary cellar door at Turanga Creek vineyard.
Mr & Mrs L F Verrall bought the property and farmed it until 1963, when Norman and Shirley Kent took over. They used the property as a horse stud and added four stables, which are now used for storage. Norm and Shirley were probably responsible for naming the property “Lone Oak”. Finally, the property was bought by George (Tiki) Whye in 1987. Tiki was a well-known personality around rugby and racing circles, and the “George Whye Kicking Trophy” is still presented annually by Auckland Rugby.
Today under the Allen family the property has been transformed into Turanga Creek vineyard.
VINEYARDS | Approximately 10 hectares (24.7 acres) of estate vineyard and 4.5 hectares (11.1 acres) of leased vineyard. The leased vineyards are Rimanui Vineyard (Whitford) and Rannach Estate (Ness Valley, Clevedon).
BIODIVERSITY | 12 hectares (29.6 acres) of pasture.
BIODYNAMICS | 2008 Biodynamic preparations 500-508 were being bought from the NZ Biodynamic Association. Biodynamic field spray preparations were being dynamized by hand in a 200-litre oak barrel. Fungal diseases have been the biggest challenge in the Auckland climate. 2011 By now they had begun to grow some of the plants needed to make the Biodynamic compost 502-507, and had created pits for Peter Proctor’s brick pit preparation 502-507. A programme of Biodynamic compost 502-507 had been initiated. Some preparations were being still being bought from the NZ Biodynamic Association.
CERTIFICATION | 2011 First vintage with full organic certification (BioGro No 5132). / 2013 First vintage with full Demeter Biodynamic certification.
WHITE WINES | Viognier. Pinot Gris.
RED WINES | Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc.
Turanga Creek Vineyard, 131 Whitford Park Road, Whitford, Auckland, New Zealand / Tel+64 (0)9.530.8936 / www.turangacreek.co.nz