14 April 2020
2020 finalists: Rod and Cindy MacIvor with daughter Brenna of Marsden Estate - Vineyard, restaurant and winery.
When Rod and Cindy MacIvor planted their first grapevines back in 1993, they had no way of knowing their commitment and hard work would guarantee Northland’s place on the wine-maker’s map of New Zealand.
Twenty-seven years later, Marsden Estate is a cornerstone of the local wine industry and pivotal to the region’s continued success. The family has also achieved well deserved national recognition for a number of award-winning wines.
Their picturesque boutique vineyard has blossomed over the years to include a winery and restaurant, which proves very popular with locals, tourists and also wedding parties.
Rod manages the vineyard and winery, while Cindy and daughter Brenna manage wine sales, the restaurant and functions.
They employ 12 staff in the restaurant as well as vineyard and winemaking staff, plus up to 20 pickers during peak season.
The MacIvors are well known in the community for their generous advice, advocacy and support for the region’s winegrowers. Marsden Estate also helps out smaller producers by making small batches of their wine, which helps to balance out risk and revenue across the operation.
Marsden Estate is currently growing seven grape varieties, all especially selected for Northland’s climate. Careful canopy management throughout the season helps to achieve consistent yields, year-on-year.
Rod understands the unique characteristics of each plant, row and block, and is constantly monitoring the vineyard, proactively managing plant health to withstand pests and diseases.
His excellent understanding of soil management for the three soil types in the vineyard also contributes to the production of high quality wines, with the soil naturally affecting wine styles.
The MacIvors are a registered sustainable vineyard, and proud of their ‘from gate to plate’ philosophy, having been members of the New Zealand Winegrowers Sustainable Winegrowing Programme for many years.
This commitment to sustainability extends to vine health management practices, where Rod aims to get the best out of his vines with minimal environmental impact.
Their passion for the industry is still evident today, with Rod and Cindy continually looking for innovative ways to improve practices and trial new products in the winery.