James and Annie Millton established their winery in 1984 on the banks of the Te Arai River, near Manutuke. Located on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand in the winegrowing region of Gisborne, this was the site where early settlers first planted grapevines in 1871. Annie’s father, Mr. John Clar, had also developed vineyards on his nearby estate in ‘Opou’ in Manutuke during the late 1960s. Prior to establishing the winery, James and Annie gained experience in the wine regions of France and Germany, including Champagne Bollinger, Maison Sichel in Bordeaux and Weingut Kurstner in Rheinhessen. After returning to New Zealand in the early 1980s, the pair extensively researched and replanted major parts of the family’s grape growing business, and their success took off.
Even their earliest releases during this time were of high quality, not only winning favor with foundation customers, but also pleasing the wine judges. Recognition was rapidly achieved winning numerous trophies and gold medals, and the same is true of their wine today. Millton wines consistently appear in fine dining rooms worldwide and continue to receive numerous national and international accolades. Their property has also since expanded tremendously since James and Annie’s return from France. They know own four individual vineyards in Manutake and Matawhero: Opou, Riverpoint, Te Arai, and Clos de Ste. Anne Vineyards.
Millton was the first producer in New Zealand to attain BioGro certification for organic wine production in 1989. Having practiced traditional methods of cultivation and production centered on biodynamic principles since inception, they were recognized as the first winegrower in the Southern Hemisphere to gain the biodynamic certification Demeter in 2009.