Established in 2000, Woollaston produces Pinot Noir, Pinot rosé , Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Gris, and all but the rosé are being exported to the United States. The striking facilities are composed of a four level gravity-fed winery, with three levels dedicated to winemaking, while the lowest level houses function rooms, the tasting room, and cellar. The building is adjoined by a reception room, offices, and an art gallery that is a draw in itself.
What began as a hobby has brought Philip Woollaston full circle to the land of his youth and a dream come true. As CEO and managing partner of the winery and vineyards that bear his name, he has been able to combine all his loves: making quality wine,serving as an enviromental steward, and being surrounded by fine art. During his political career which included time as a member of New Zealand's Parliament and policy advisor to the United Nations and Nelson Mayor, his wife Chan developed an interest in wine that spurred the purchase of a boutique vineyard that lay the foundations for Woollaston. As they became more immersed in the winegrowing process the desire for more vineyards and a winery grew. A serendipitous meeting with now partner Glenn Schaeffer led to the formation of Woollaston Estates.
A leader in the gaming industry, Las Vegas based Glenn Schaeffer has made New Zealand his second home. Throughout his professional life Glenn retained a love of the arts which he has always supported through philanthropy and which is now showcased at the winery, as well as in his own private collection, one of New Zealand's most signifcant. Around 2000, his interests also began to extend into fine wine and its production, so the meeting with Philip Woollaston was perfect timing.
Winemaker Andrew Sutherland
Andrew Sutherland, a graduate of Lincoln Univeristy, believes that grapes are the ultimate aribiters when it comes to fine wine production. "The winery here is unique in the New Zealand context, built over four levels to harness the use of gravity in the winemaking process. It is particuarly beneficial in the gentle handling required in the production of Pinot Noir. The less human intervention and mechanization, the better." Andrew joined the company in 2003 after four years at Neudorf Vineyards, during which time he also gained experience working in Oregon (Cristom and WillaKenzie Estates) and Burgundy (Château du Puligny-Montrachet).