Anchorage Wines founding family, the Drummonds, hold firm to their belief that the rich fertile soils surrounding the Motueka township, coupled with balmy sea breezes and some of New Zealand’s consistently highest sunshine readings, are the ideal climate in which to craft their aromatic wines. Grapes from their vineyards in the nearby Moutere add a further dimension to their range of classic aromatic varieties.
Next door to the scenic adventure playground of the Abel Tasman National Park, their vineyards produce high quality Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Viognier, both for the Anchorage label and the company’s export label Torrent Bay.
The first of the vines were planted by the Drummond family in the spring of 2000 in rich river loam beside the mouth of the Motueka River with expansion since then to take advantage of terroir in surrounding fertile horticultural areas, already renowned for hops, blackcurrants, raspberries and a variety of pip and stone fruit. Vibrant, fertile river flats with loamy, sandy soils ensure vigorous growth with careful vineyard management in the Motueka and Riwaka vineyards while the heavier but no less fertile soils in the Moutere are coupled with incredibly hot temperatures, combine to produce a mouth-filling array of aromas and flavours in the resultant wines. Pioneers in horticulture and agriculture in the region since 1866, the Drummonds now use their land-savvy and more than a century of local knowledge passed down from generation to generation to produce their wine.
Chris is the driving force behind his family's winemaking business. Chris, born, bred and educated in New Zealand's Motueka horticultural region, earned a Diploma in Business at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology then qualified as an associate chartered accountant. By that time wine – a 'hobby' since his late teens – had become a passion. In 2002 the Drummond family planted a few hectares of grapes and Chris set up Anchorage Wines, producing the first small vintage of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 2003. In December 2005 Chris moved to concentrate on Anchorage full-time and now runs the financial side of the business as well as undertaking its sales and marketing. From 400 cases in the first year, production has increased to 40,000 and is still growing. Most of the growth comes from export orders, although Anchorage is just as keen to maintain its focus on New Zealand markets too.
His favourite variety is Riesling. "You can make it dry, medium or sweet, late harvest and even low alcohol. I enjoy the flavours… apricot, stone fruits, lime etc. Unlike some other varieties you can make so many drinkable styles using Riesling." He also enjoys Pinot Noir, especially Central Otago styles which he describes as "elegant, refined, and not so green." From a long line of 'sea enthusiasts', Chris spends much of his recreational time indulging in boating and maritime hobbies. An avid supporter of New Zealand yachting, he particularly enjoys boating and spending family time with his wife Jody and his young sons Luca and Eli.
Gavin opted to join the tobacco growing industry when he left school then moved to processing the product for Rothmans in Motueka. When the family bought an apple orchard, he joined his father Ray in forming Riwaka Fruit and Vegetables, working mainly in pip fruit orcharding until 2000 when they decided to grow grapes.
Gavin and Ray considered grapes in 1992 but decided not to proceed then after a Ministry of Agriculture report deemed grapes “too risky”. The family company became Riwaka Fruit and Viticulture and vineyards of chardonnay, sauvignon, pinot gris and pinot noir were planted. Gavin is now managing director of Riwaka Fruit and Viticulture which looks after the 60 hectares of the family’s own vineyards.
Work aside, Gavin enjoys boating, fishing and spending time with his daughters Gabrielle and Paige.
Patriarch Ray Drummond traced his roots back to 1855 when his ancestors first arrived to till the soil. Born and bred in Motueka, Ray was a man of the land, seldom happier when driving his bulldozer or pacing out in a paddock. He supported his sons' move from kiwifruit and apples to grapes, and will be remembered by his children as a staunch believer in paving the way for future generations.
Tony Southgate has a vision to make wines that are immaculate, clean and that everyday people can drink. He joined Anchorage in 2019 to form a strong team that is moving the Motueka Wine Company forward. The former New Zealand Winemaker of the Year (2012) said he has been working on showcasing the fruit's purity and fine balance, to lift the bar and become more competitive. It's a huge difference from where he first started, initially studying economics at school before training to become a butcher, then a cabinet maker and eventually a wine maker. It was at the boutique butchery he worked at in Auckland where he realised that very attention to detail was what he excelled at. "And that set me on the pathway for excellence. I don't want to make mediocre wine." But it was actually his wife that first introduced him to wine, and together they used to attend many festivals throughout the country. His favourite drop? He likes heavy reds, particularly from France, or a New Zealand Syrah, as well as a Pinot Noir that has some identity to it. He's also mad on motorcycles - fast ones, and admits to having a few of those, for the days he's not working, fine dining or drinking wine.