Our History

Grapevines were first planted in this small picturesque valley by Englishman Robert Bird.

Bird constructed the Glenvale winery and cellars in 1933, including the concrete fermentation vats that are still used to this day.

Fortified wines were the mainstay of Glenvale's production until the late 1970's when the Esk Valley brand was created, for a range of premium table wines.

Over-production in the New Zealand wine industry in the early 1980's led to devastating price wars. Amongst the casualties of this era was Glenvale, which went into receivership and was subsequently purchased by George Fistonich, founder of Villa Maria Estate.

Over the last twenty or so years, the Esk Valley winery has seen a few changes – most obviously in the quality of the wines made here.

Stainless steel fermentation tanks have been introduced to complement the original concrete vats, which have proved ideal for fermenting Esk Valley’s award-winning Winemakers Reserve and The Terraces wines.

Today, Esk Valley Estate is run as an independent Hawkes Bay winery, with its own vineyards and winemaking team.