The oldest vineyard on Waiheke has passed into the hands of the University of Auckland.
It will become a wine science faculty thanks to the continued vision of winemaking pioneers Kim and Jeanette Goldwater.
The university has acquired the Waiheke property through a commercial transaction and the Goldwaters gifting back $4 million of the purchase price to the wine science programme.
The 14-hectare vineyard above Putiki Bay was first planted in 1978. It will now have two operations.
An established team will continue to produce wines commercially under the Goldie brand and Island label.
Wine science students will be 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.
During the first half of the year-long postgraduate diploma wine science students will live at Goldwater.
They will be exposed to everything from vineyard and winemaking operations to interaction with the public in the tasting room.
The Goldwater family has had a long association with Auckland University, with three generations of graduates.
Kim Goldwater says when he was contemplating the vineyard's future he immediately thought of the wine science programme because the estate is the perfect size for a teaching operation.
"I'm a great believer in knowledge and proper research," he says.
"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," Mr Goldwater says.
University vice-chancellor Stuart McCutcheon says this an unprecedented and generous donation that will benefit both the university and the wine industry.
"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," he says.
"We believe that the wine industry will benefit from the supply of high quality graduates as well as the university's wine science research."
University wine science director Randy Weaver says the curriculum for the course is being expanded and he expects the number of students will double to around 30.
"The scale of the estate is perfect for teaching purposes and its proximity to the city, the historic value of the winery and the natural beauty of the site will all be major drawcards for local and international students."
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