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Waiheke winery donated to University of Auckland

Published:  18 July, 2011

A renowned New Zealand winemaking family has donated its vineyard and winery to the University of Auckland.

The university claims it will now become the southern hemisphere's premium wine science facility thanks to Waiheke winemakers Kim and Jeanette Goldwater.

The Goldwater family have partially gifted the operation to the University's Wine Science programme.

Vice-chancellor, professor Stuart McCutcheon, said: "The opportunity for immersion in a high-quality commercial winery means that our students will be better trained than ever before and highly attuned to the realities of the industry."

The university has acquired the Waiheke property, partly through a commercial transaction, and partly through the $4m philanthropic gift. The 14-hectare vineyard and winery will operate two distinct streams: one under the premium Goldie brand and the other under the more accessibly-priced Island label. Wine science students will keep producing their own wines for teaching purposes under the university's Ingenio label, work as interns in the commercial operation, and have access to the fruit and data for research.

"This is the perfect size for a teaching operation and I'm a great believer in knowledge and proper research. The overall quality of New Zealand wine is now better than anywhere else in the world because our winemakers are well educated, so it's my quiet dream this will become an important centre for wine education and research," said Kim Goldwater.

Kim and Jeanette Goldwater planted the first wine-quality vines in Waiheke in 1978. Through a family trust they own the vineyard previously known as Goldwater Estate, while Gretchen Goldwater and husband Ken Christie own and operate the winery business Goldie Wines.