Established in 1986, Gladstone Vineyard was the first of a cluster of boutique wineries established on the old riverbed of the Ruamahanga River at Gladstone, east of Carterton in the Wairarapa.
In February 1996, Christine and David Kernohan took over the vineyard. Both born in Glasgow, Scotland, they emigrated to New Zealand in the late 1970s with their young daughters Lyn and Gail. Christine took on the dual roles of Managing Director and trainee winemaker while David continued his role at the School of Architecture in Wellington, alongside weekend wine sales and quality control at the vineyard.
The Kernohan's first vintage in April 1996 was overseen by Belgian-born winemaker Jean Charles Van Hove, who helped build on the solid reputation of Gladstone Vineyard's wines by securing a Gold Medal for the 1996 Sauvignon Blanc later that year.
The next few years were ones of both consolidation and expansion at Gladstone Vineyard, with Christine taking over the reigns as chief winemaker, while continuing her management and marketing roles.
The vineyard café was first opened in the summer of 1996/1997, starting out as a university holiday enterprise for the Kernohan's younger daughter Gail and her friend Debbie. The adjacent Carters Block was first planted in 1997.
In 1998, 10ha of land at nearby Dakins Road was purchased and initially leased back to farmers for grazing, the first Summer Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, was staged at the vineyard, and the first pallet of Gladstone wine was shipped to the Netherlands – the first export from Gladstone Vineyard's shores!
Expansion continued into the 2000s with the first plantings at Dakins Road and exports into the UK (Northern Ireland) and Australia. Gladstone Vineyard now exports approximately half of its production to the UK, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada. For details visit Our distributors page. If you are interested in distributing our wines, please contact Christine.
In 2004 planning started for a new winery, with Bevin + Slessor Architects tasked with designing a winery that would complement the picturesque setting at Gladstone while coping with a projected increase in production from the current 60 tonnes to a potential 200 tonnes, and more in the future if necessary. The new winery was completed as the 2005 harvest was brought in – the walls were erected as the grapes were pressed! The old winery building has been retained for cellar door sales.