Rod McDonald Wines is a family-owned wine business born out of a love of making wine and of the place they call home, Hawke’s Bay. Winemaker Rod McDonald spent nine years as winemaker at Vidal Estate in Hawke’s Bay and was awarded New Zealand Winemaker of the Year in 2006. He left later that year with a few ideas about what Hawke’s Bay wines could be like, and started Rod McDonald Wines to prove it.
In 2006 he began searching for great vineyard sites that would eventually supply the grapes to make the great wines. One of Hawke’s Bay’s greatest strengths is its geographical and climatic diversity. The varied landscape provides an environment to grow a number of different varieties for an array of wine styles.
Rod and his team have chosen some of Hawke’s Bay’s greatest vineyard sites from the coast at Te Awanga, to the valley floor at Bridge Pa, and finally their most inland site at Maraekakaho. They grow Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc at the coast and the maritime climate ensures a bright acidity and long growing season. Bridge Pa brings Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah as these are the hottest blocks ripening grapes fully. At their highest and most inland vineyard at Maraekakaho, they grow Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.