Marlborough, New Zealand
Small Parcel, Super-Premium Estate-Grown Wines
When David Bishell, along with his wife Mary and their four young children, immigrated to New Zealand in 1876, he never imagined his farm would one day become an award-winning wine estate. He named his property Caythorpe after his home village in Lincolnshire, England, and started a successful cereal and livestock venture. Four generations later vines would be planted and their fruit would produce world-class Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir.
How we found them/How Richard found them: During a month in New Zealand making the wine that would become our first own-label, I met Simon when visiting famous vineyards. Caythorpe is literally next-door to Dog Point, a very famous name in Marlborough Sauvignon. I thought their wines were outstanding and different to a lot of the low quality Sauvignons that have flooded the UK market.
Once settled on his new 50 hectares of farmland, located west of Blenheim, David Bishell starting a thriving farm growing crops such as wheat, barley, oats, peas and potatoes on his property. He embraced early developed machinery such as ploughs, threshing machines and harvesters to increase productivity and reduce labour costs. He diversified into livestock quickly gained a reputation as a leading breeder of Lincoln and Romney sheep. In the 1920s, David began exporting animals to breeders in South Africa and South America.
In 1972, the family business was approached by Montana wines (now Brancott Estate) to buy Caythorpe in its entirety. While the Bishell’s declined the offer, Montana purchased neighbouring plots and planted the first large-scale vineyard in Marlborough. This would create and drive the worldwide commercial success of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
In the 1980’s, due to operational difficulties and a crisis in the farming industry, Caythorpe’s survival was put at risk. This led them to further diversify their crops: cherries were planted in 1985 and, inspired by the growing success of kiwi wine, the first vineyard (Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc) followed in 1987. The demand for grapes increased along with their value, and soon the vineyard provided the farm with an income stream that exceeded the proportion of land it occupied providing the family with enough resources to push through the troubled times.
After over thirty years as an established grower, Caythorpe Family Estate was established in 2015 as a producer of small parcel, super-premium estate-grown wines, with the assistance of Jeremy McKenzie as winemaker (500 cases produced only). The addition of a wine brand to the business is another chapter in the in the rich farming history of Caythorpe.
Location: Marlborough, New Zealand
Working with us since: 2016
Total area under vine: 8 hectares
Our pick of the best wine from this producer: Sauvignon Blanc
Interesting fact: Caythorpe wines quickly gained critical acclaim with the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc awarded Gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition – the world’s largest international wine competition – in only their second ever vintage.