Mountford Estate was established in 1991 by Buffy and Michael Eaton who chose the site for its elevation and active limestone soils.
Current Managing Director/Winemaker Takahiro Koyama, who 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.
It was his lucky day. After enjoying a generous tasting and their warm hospitality, they offered him a part-time job to help them cover the vines with bird netting because of his “height”. CP Lin who had been head winemaker at Mountford since early days, and responsible for the Chardonnay which lured Takahiro, also kindly welcomed him to their small winemaking family.
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.
You might call it “closing the loop”.
As Takahiro has his own brand “Koyama Wines”, his company now offers Mountford and Koyama under one roof, both of which are produced from grapes harvested at Mountford Estate and other local vineyards.
You can find Koyama Wines here.