Prime Minister John Key and wife Bronagh were among more than 90 guests at Soljans Estate Wines' 75th celebrations in Kumeu.
A who's who of West wineries included Babich, Brajkovich, Delegat, Ivicevich, Nobilo and more.
Soljans managing director Tony Soljan says his dad Frank started the business in Lincoln Rd, Henderson, in 1937 after the family moved to New Zealand 10 years earlier from Stari Grad on the island of Hvar.
The early Dalmation winemakers worked hard to get established in New Zealand helped each other - a tradition which continues today, Mr Soljan says.
Changes at Lincoln Rd meant it was no longer "the wine road of New Zealand", he says.
So the operation moved to State Highway 16 near Kumeu where it incorporated a cafe and function centre.
The move was very successful and has built a good foundation for the future, Mr Soljan says.
He says changes over 75 years have been enormous.
"These include the wine styles, grape varieties, where they are grown, the wineries themselves and where we sell them.
"We used to make wine from the vineyard around the winery and supply only the domestic trade.
"Today we get grapes from various regions and and sell both domestically and overseas."
Mr Soljan says people ask when he will retire.
Wife Colleen might want him around home more, but Mr Soljan says he will heed friend Peter Babich's advice.
"He says he tried retirement for a couple of days but it didn't work."
Soljans has about 45 people working for the company and continues to expand in international markets such as China and the United States.
To cap off the night a 40-year-old port was cracked for guests who also sampled the jubilee cake after a three-course dinner.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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