What does one do in retirement? Play golf? Travel? Live at the beach? The Camerons decided to do all three with an extra, more time consuming activity - growing and making wine in Mangawhai Heads.
Son Rob who studied viticulture and winemaking in 1998 at Lincoln fed the 'boutique winery' notion until 7 years later we produced our first wines. Rob would enthusiastically report that '...it won't be much work....' And looking back it's amusing to see just how wrong he was!
The Cameron family draw its roots from the Highlands in Scotland hence our name 'Lochiel'. Lochiel is the home all Cameron's claim as their heritage and so we felt it fitting to recognise where we came from.
The beautiful clutch of 5 arrows is synonymous with the clan and is not as many people believe a symbol of warring prowess and aggression but actually symbolises the uniting of the 5 families of the clan that were historically separated by the geography of the highlands. The arrows represent unity and strength and the belief that family always works better as one.
On that premise the Cameron family have all participated to create a small estate that we are very proud of.
In 2000 we started looking for a unique piece of land that could produce world-class wine as well as a beautiful place to live. We found that just inland of Mangawhai Heads in the foothills of the Brynderwyn ranges on King road. This idyllic spot fits both requirements.
The limestone and clay soils of the area give great natural acidity and balance to our wines and our small pocket of land acts as a sun trap in the summer - two criteria for making good wine. Making great wine takes a little more time and patience but we are well on the way!
Lochiel Estate grows Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Malbec and Syrah over 4ha and boasts a fully equipped winery complete with a temperature controlled barrel hall. State of the art equipment has been purchased with small volumes of premium wines in mind. Lochiel Cellar hopes to make wine for other like-minded growers in the future with the intention of putting Mangawhai firmly on the wine trail map as a serious wine region in itself.