For the fith year in a row, Sacred Hill’s Marlborough Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc has gained a Gold at the Royal Easter Show. Sacred Hill gained several more Golds at the show, including one for its iconic Riflemans Chardonnay 2004 which has consistently won medals, achieved five star status and was awarded the trophy for champion Chardonnay for its 2002 vintage at last year’s show.
In 1982, when David Mason’s father Ian planted some Sauvignon Blanc in a field near Puketapu, Hawke’s Bay, there is no way he could have envisaged that the fruits of his low-key local idea would be transformed into an internationally renowned winery. However that’s exactly what his sons and the Sacred Hill team have done in a mere decade and a half. From producing a small number of cases of ‘Fume’ Blanc out of an implement shed on the family estate, they have taken the company and turned it into one of New Zealand’s leading privately owned wineries.
The Sacred Hill story is one of innovation, commitment and talent married to the blessings of nature. A passion for creating- and consuming- wine drives this company which, while it is highly respected on both the New Zealand and international stages is still run by the members of the Mason family, along with a team of key personnel who have remained virtually unchanged over fifteen years. This heritage provides a strong basis for growth, and Sacred Hill continues to implement strategies that will consolidate and further its excellent reputation.
Sacred Hill’s wines were originally based on grapes produced from top performing vineyard sites in Hawke’s Bay. Having secured the vineyards required for the production of premium Hawke’s Bay varietals, the company has cast its eyes southwards and now has extensive vineyard holdings in the internationally recognised region of Marlborough. This doesn’t mean that Sacred Hill have forgotten their roots. The Hawke’s Bay is where it all began, Hawke’s Bay fruit dominated the company’s production for a number of years and the region will always be an integral part of the company’s output. Sacred Hill has always prided itself on its ability to meet the needs of its faithful, with recent expansion into Marlborough reflecting this commitment to demand.
While the domestic base is essential to Sacred Hill’s marketing plan, expansion in their well-established export markets and some exploration of new ones will see the brand continue to expand globally, reflecting an international demand for dependable, well made and inspirational wines.
What is surprising is that despite a fifteen-year period of development, Sacred Hill has lost relatively few staff. This is to do with the ‘culture’, the Mason family has instilled in the whole operation. Sacred Hill is run by a team that has changed little since the company’s inception back in 1986. David Mason is one of the founding members of this strong team. David is a fearless innovator who is prepared to take a chance, and most of all has the exuberant, quick-minded personality to keep the team excited and challenged by what they do. Understanding the family tradition, David is also keen to forge ahead and maximize the outstanding potential the company has in its vineyards, and its people.
Tony was one of the originators of that first Sacred Hill release, the 1986 Fume Blanc, and after launching this groundbreaking wine he traveled extensively, working at a number of highly-respected wineries, including Brown Brothers in Australia, and Rippon Vineyards, French Farm and Martinborough Vineyards in New Zealand. Since returning to the Sacred Hill fold in 1994, Tony’s passion and commitment has had a significant influence on Sacred Hill’s development. Tony’s guidance of the vineyard management and winemaking processes has been crucial in establishing and maintaining Sacred Hill’s reputation as a consistent producer of quality wines.