Pouring a Legacy

The idyllic island paradise of Waiheke boasts 100 vineyards, and of those 75 are set within Man O’ War’s sprawling grounds with the first vines planted in 1993.

The idyllic island paradise of Waiheke boasts 100 vineyards, and of those 75 are set within Man O’ War’s sprawling grounds with the first vines planted in 1993. That experience and diversity of vineyards across Waiheke’s eastern point has well and truly culminated in the most prized offerings in the Kulta Collection and exclusive Kulta Family membership programme. Speaking with winemaker, Duncan McTavish, we learn it is more than just a passion project. McTavish has something to prove.

A 4,500-acre family farm and beach, with over 150-acres under vine and an incredibly popular gastronomic destination and events venue; Man O’ War’s prominence on Waiheke is undeniable. In the 28 years since Vineyard Manager, Matt Allen planted the winery’s first grapes on the significant easterly property, the Tour de Force that is Man O’ War Winery has deservedly established itself as one of the island’s most significant wine makers.

Since 2008, bringing that vision to life and ensuring wines of the highest quality has been in the hands of Duncan McTavish, who before visiting Man O’ War, had never been to Waiheke Island, but as any guest will tell you, it’s not hard to understand why he stayed.

Duncan brought with him experience from vintages in France, Germany, Australia, United States and throughout New Zealand and has helmed a viticulture and winemaking team that has remained unchanged for over a decade.

Ostensibly Man O’ War’s wines are segmented into three ranges, Estate, Flagship and, launched in 2020, the Kulta range, each collection serves as an important milestone in bringing Man O’ War’s vision to life.

The Estate range offers an introduction to the unique characteristics of Waiheke-grown fruit.

“Ninety percent of Waiheke’s vineyards are exposed to the coast and sea breezes the Pacific Ocean so that makes for a very distinctive quality” Says McTavish, “Those characteristics specific to the island are quickly evident in the Estate offerings

The Flagship range incorporates an even more specific layer, embodying profiles more deeply unique to Man O’ War’s locale on the island.

“The soil evident at Man O’ War and specifically in the centre of the property is extremely volcanic with lots of boulders and minerals that makes our wine quite unique, so our flagship range really distinguishes Man O’ War specifically from other Waiheke wines.” Explains McTavish,

And then there is the Kulta Collection that Duncan has been working towards over the past 13 years.

"The Kulta Collection has been created from a desire to have something truly distinctive and that showcases the best of Man O'War."

The ambition for these wines is to prove Man O’ War against the quality seen in their respective old-world counterparts. Regal right-bank Bordeaux, Syrah of Hermitage, White Burgundy, and grower Champagne.

“The Kulta Collection of wines takes things to an even more granular level within Man O’ War. Having built that knowledge base from hand-picking all our sites, we identified our most distinctive vineyards and have created a range that truly showcases the best from within the Man O’ War sites. 

“These are very much the kind of wines that are exciting to us as winemakers to produce. They haven’t been created to chase points, of course recognition is great, but the Kulta Family has been created from a desire to have something truly distinctive for New Zealand and for Man O’ War”

The sites were identified back in 2012 and with trial blends bottled from 2013, it took another fiver years for Duncan and his team to find the ultimate balance and the resulting in ‘Tytti’ a Bordeaux blend, ‘Totto’ a Syrah, ‘Mathilda’ Chardonnay and ‘Tulia’ A Blanc de Blanc released when the season allows.

With just 300 cases per year of Tytti and Totto and 150 case per year of Mathilda and Tulia, the Kulta Range is very much the culmination of Duncan’s desire to finesse Man O’ War’s wines incrementally over time and craft a true signature for the beloved winery.

With such a defined volume, the best way to secure access to Kulta Collection is through the vineyard’s exclusive, ‘Kulta Family’ wine club. The Kulta Family grants members levels of Man O' War not yet seen by the public. From vineyard tours with Duncan & Matt to private tasting events in Auckland city throughout the year, first rights to 12 bottles of the very limited Kulta production as well as Family Pricing on all Man O‘ War wine sales, free delivery nationwide, access to the Kulta Concierge for all your wine and venue booking needs and a ticket to the yearly Kulta Family vintage release celebration at Man O’ War.

If the promise of the quality of the Kulta wines was not enough of a drawcard, Man O' War's legendary hospitality is. 

Learn more at www.manowar.co.nz/collections/kulta-family 

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