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Our Story

Who We Are

We are a very small family-owned boutique vineyard located at the foot of the Weka Pass in the North Canterbury wine growing region of New Zealand. Our wine derives its name in large part from the historical connection of the Antills to the soil in which the vines sink their roots. The first William Antill arrived in the region in the 1850's. He had a passion for horses and was a boundary rider for George Henry Moore on the Glenmark Station. William bought some land for a small farm, which has remained in the Antill family ever since. In 1999 Janice Antill and Julian Young purchased the farm from Trevor Antill, Janice's father. Wine has always been Julian’s passion, so with two small children in tow, they set about learning everything they could about growing vines and making wine. Numerous experts were consulted, soils were tested, books and research were consumed, lots of friends and family helped, and in 2003 the first vines were planted.

Our Terroir & Growing philosophy

We have always felt that this land is special, perhaps almost sacred. The Weka Pass sits toward the western edge of the Waipara Valley, consisting of a range of small hills that extend west for 7km towards Waikari. These hills are an assembly of enormous limestone rock formations that date back tens of millions of years. The vines themselves are planted at the foot of the pass, in limestone rich soils with embedded calcareous sea shells from the Miocene period. The local North Canterbury climate is cool, with low rainfall and long dry autumns. Inspired by the classical Burgundian style and 'Old World' expertise, we planted our vines in a high density concentration, with a single low trellis canopy. We believe this approach helps maximise flavour, while protecting the vines from the famous Canterbury hot dry Nor’wester wind (Te Hau Kai Tangata - the wind that devours humankind). Most of our 5000 vines planted in our one hectare single vineyard block were established in 2003 - they are now approaching their 20th birthday! Our clones are primarily 10/5 and Able. We have been strictly organic since 2008, but only recently received our official BioGro Certification in 2022.

Wine Making

Since 2010 we have made the wine on site. Once the hand picking is complete, the rest of the wine making process occurs in a converted wool-shed and two shipping containers. Our open vat Burgundian style whole berry fermentations rely entirely upon the natural wild yeasts that permeate the vines. Because every vineyard’s wild yeasts are unique, we believe that our wild yeast fermentation connects our wine with our terroir in an intimate, natural, and organic way, making a unique wine that is truly reflective of our terroir and place. Our approach to the wine making is to allow the flavour imparted from the skins during fermentation to shine in their own right, with minimal oak influence. However, the French oak barrels do play a role in shaping, softening, and giving depth to the wine in subtle ways that cannot be replicated by any other means. It is a fine balance. All of our vintages are barrel aged for at least 11 months, though it is often longer. Our wines are best enjoyed after at least five years of bottle cellaring, and will continue to improve for years to come. 

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