The Igguldens, a Hawera family who own a vineyard at Martinborough, used the Ronald Hugh Morrieson literary awards function yesterday for a local launch of their first decent grape crop, bottled under their own Hamden Estate label.
Hamden is a mix of the family names of David Iggulden and his wife Jo (nee Oxenham).
The label graphic is of three paper cutout figures representing their daughters Frances, Hannah and Claire, who were all involved in the hard physical labour of establishing the vineyard.
Their first choice for a name was Siblings Estate, because Jo is one of three girls and David is one of three boys. But they discovered an Australian rival was already using it. So the Hamden label has been subtly subtitled "siblings without rival".
Mr Iggulden, a partner in the Hawera law firm Welsh McCarthy, was raised by parents who lived for some years in New Caledonia and he grew up in a family where wine was part of the culture. As a result of this, extramural study of the wine industry and other life experiences, he decided to try growing his own.
"I knew of other individuals getting into the wine business and seeming to enjoy it, and I thought I might as well have a go myself," he says. He and Jo bought an eight-hectare bare paddock in a river valley on Dry River Rd at Martinborough and about five years ago they and the girls began planting vines.
"We did everything ourselves, except the specialist work such as posts and wires. We did our own planting and ran out the irrigation lines. The vines required 4500 holes to be dug, so we roped in some kind friends as well to help with that. And for the first three years we did all the spraying and maintenance ourselves."
They planted sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, riesling, pinot gris and pinot noir varieties and the 2008 harvest has been their first substantial one.
The Hamden Estate wines are made by Strat Canning of Margrain Vineyard.
On Sunday they were being enjoyed by a discerning crowd at the Ronald Hugh Morrieson awards at St Joseph's Hall, Hawera. Wine merchant Michael Radich, architect Clive Cullen and valuer Roger Malthus were also involved as wine sponsors.
- Taranaki Daily News
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