We've gone back to the grass roots of wine. We searched up and down the hills and valleys of the Tasman region looking for a plot of land that was ideal for growing Chardonnay. We eventually settled on a beautiful piece of land in the Upper Moutere that existed as an apple orchard for near on 100 years. We planted some Chardonnay vines and apple trees, then set up a small functional winery in part of the old apple packing shed.
It all sounds too easy, doesn’t it? Well, that’s just the sprinkles on the top of the cake – the hard work is all underneath.
Essentially, we are growers, makers and sellers. This is how wine and cider used to be. Grown, made, bottled and sold by those who tend the land.
We are ABEL.
Here’s a little bit of the history on how we ended up here…
We were bitten by the wine bug early. Sophie’s parents, James & Wendy Healy have been in the wine industry for over 40 years. Working with the iconic Cloudy Bay and then going on to co-establish Dog Point Vineyard in Marlborough. Mark’s Dad Linton has been a viticulturist for just as long, working throughout New Zealand and then planting a vineyard in the Wairarapa in the early 90’s.
Mark spent school holidays and weekends (and school days!) in the vineyard then headed off to Lincoln University for the inaugural undergraduate degree program in Viticulture & Oenology. Upon completion, overseas vintages beckoned and after a few of them settled into a winemaking role back home in the Wairarapa. Not being one to sit still and wanting to travel and discover more about wine, Mark took up a role with a winery supply company selling French Oak barrels in Australia and New Zealand.
Meanwhile Sophie spent her school holidays and weekends working in Marlborough restaurants. Then headed off to Otago University, completed her degree (in Psych!) and moved to Melbourne where she worked for a winery supply company selling yeast and equipment.
That’s when our paths collided…
Fast forward nearly 20 years (ouch!), two little girls, a vineyard, slowly evolving orchard and sheep farm and we’re certainly keeping ourselves busy. We feel very lucky to be in this part of the world, it’s a special part of New Zealand with hills, valleys, mountains and beaches all within a stone’s throw of our farm. In fact, just up the road you will find the picturesque Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand's smallest national park, located at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. This is where our name originates from.
We're looking forward to sharing our wines from this beautiful place with you. Drink well, stay safe, be happy.
Cheers & enjoy!
Mark & Sophie McGill