Kono NZ Strikes Gold in Australia


Kono NZ, the top of the South leading Maori food and beverage producer, has steadily been growing a reputation for excellence, and now both of the company’s wine brands have received significant international recognition. The company has been awarded four trophies and a haul of gold medals at the Sydney International Wine Competition, and the Australia Alternative Varieties Wine Show.

Tohu wines not only picked up gold medals, but was awarded two trophies for best in class at the Sydney International Wine Competition. Tohu Single Vineyard Marlborough Riesling 2014 won the Trophy for Best Aromatic Wine of the Competition, and Tohu Awatere Valley Pinot Gris 2015 was awarded the Trophy for Best Lighter Bodied Dry White Table Wine.

Aronui, the company’s Nelson grown wines, were awarded a Gold medal for their Aronui Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2015 at the Sydney competition, but it is their Aronui Single Vineyard Albarino 2014 that has clearly been the shining star across the Tasman. This wine was awarded a Blue-Gold at the Sydney competition, and then took out an outstanding two trophies and a gold medal at the Australia Alternative Varieties wine show. It now carries the honour of Trans Tasman Award for Best NZ Wine, and Jane Faulkner jointly awarding it the Chief of Judges Wine to Watch.

“The Aronui awards clearly cement Nelson’s growing reputation as a producer of outstanding aromatic varietals. This comes on the back of our Aronui Pinot Gris 2014 being our most awarded wine ever last vintage. Both of these wines are a result of the commitment of the entire team, and we’re really proud of what we have to offer.” Bruce Taylor, Chief Winemaker, Kono NZ.

“Four trophies in one week is certainly a huge nod to our commitment to excellence in both our Nelson and Marlborough vineyards and in the winery where we are dedicated to sustainable best practice. Bruce Taylor and his team are clearly making some of New Zealand’s best aromatic wines, and we are so pleased to see this being acknowledged” Mike Brown, GM Sales & Marketing, Kono NZ.

Aronui Wines Double Celebration

Aronui Wines has just celebrated ten years since its first vine plantings at its Whenua Matua vineyard in Upper Moutere, Nelson.  These clay soils have played a significant part in establishing the region as a premium area for aromatic wines, so it was a great testimony to those involved in the establishment of these vineyards when Aronui Wines was awarded the Trophy for Champion Pinot Gris at the Royal Easter Wine Show Awards on Saturday night. 

The Aronui Single Vineyard Nelson Pinot Gris 2014 has been awarded five gold medals in the short time since its release, and has become winemaker Bruce Taylor’s most awarded wine in his career.  “We had a really good growing season in 2014 and were quite confident that this was going to be a great wine.  It’s nice to see the rewards coming after a few years of making this pinot gris, as we gain a better understanding of the style that suits our Whenua Matua vineyard.  The lusciousness and nice natural acidity have come about as the vines age, and we have also gained better control over the winemaking process with a stable winemaking team and our own winery.”  Bruce Taylor, Chief Winemaker.

Whenua Matua Vineyard Manager, Jonny Hiscox was present at the award ceremony on Saturday, and honoured the heritage of this Maori owned wine company by delivering his acceptance speech in Te Reo.  “Terry Dunleavy, the Grand Old Man of the New Zealand wine industry, got up to specifically say that it was the first time a trophy had been accepted in Te Reo, and how great that was,”  Mike Brown, GM Sales & Marketing, Kono NZ. 

The land that the Whenua Matua vineyard is planted on is on Tenths Reserves.  A key component of the New Zealand Company colonisation scheme (1841) was the obligation to reserve one-tenth of all land purchased for the future prosperity of the Maori owners.  Although this was not honoured at the time, the land lease was re-acquired by Wakatu Incorporation for the purpose of planting this very successful vineyard.


Tohu Wines and Aronui Wines


Our award winning Tohu Wines now has a sister brand.  Aronui Wines was launched early in 2013 by the whanau who have been brining you award-winning Tohu Wines for over 15 years. Already Aronui has shown it’s calibre with gold at the Spiegelau International Wine Competition for the 2012 Aronui Single Vineyard Pinot Gris.

The word Aronui derives from the Māori mythological basket of knowledge associated with crafts, arts and working with the land in beneficial ways. This reflects our commitment to caring for the land and our artisanal approach to winemaking. As our owners are kaitiaki (guardians of their natural resources) and focused on sustainable enterprise, both Tohu and Aronui vineyards are certified by Sustainable Wine Growing New Zealand (SWNZ), our company is CEMARS accredited, and our wines are carboNZero certified. 

Whenua Matua (Significant Lands) is the name of our Aronui vineyard. It is located in Nelson’s Moutere Valley – an area fast becoming an aromatics powerhouse. This compliments our Tohu vineyards located in Marlborough, where we continue to produce our Single Vineyard Estate grown wines and our exceptional Kaumatua-Reserve range, named after special elders from within our whanau. 

Distributed by Kono Beverages
PO Box 762, Blenheim, Marlborough         
0800 864 894            

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Whanau = family. Māori = indigenous peoples of New Zealand. Kaumauta = respected elder

New wines reinforce link to ancestral land


I am sure everyone is aware of the Tohu wine brand, owned by Wakatu Incorporation, but many will not know that it recently launched a new brand.

I am sure everyone is aware of the Tohu wine brand, owned by Wakatu Incorporation, but many will not know that it recently launched a new brand.

Kono Beverages is now the overarching division name within Wakatu for its wine business, and the Tohu brand is now used exclusively for wines produced from fruit grown in their Awatere Valley and Waihopai Valley vineyards in Marlborough. The new Aronui wines are made from fruit grown in Nelson, mainly from their Whenua Matua vineyards in the Moutere Hills, supplemented by fruit grown in other parts of the region.

Jonny Hiscox is the man responsible for managing the Whenua Matua vineyards and producing the fruit for the Aronui wines. His role is not only to grow great grapes but to care for the land - something that is fundamental to the owners. This, along with an artisan approach to winemaking, are guiding philosophies for the owners.

Whenua Matua means "significant land", and the word Aronui derives from ancient Maori mythology about the pursuit of knowledge, including the arts and working with the land. Both names reflect the importance to the owners of the ancestral land at Upper Moutere.

The land development that Jonny has overseen in recent years includes planting lots of native trees and flaxes in areas of Whenua Matua not suitable for planting grapes. His hard work and dedication have created a wonderful environment that delivers more than just good wines.

The finished product in the bottle has direct links to ancestral land, something that is not lost on Jonny as he goes about his work.

A lot of effort has been made to ensure the vineyards are certified as Sustainable Vineyards and all the wines are carboNZero-certified.

The result of this hard work is fruit from quite young vines that delivers big flavours with structural elements that come directly from the Moutere clay soils. At this stage, only two of the four newly released wines are made from fruit grown at Whenua Matua (pinot gris and pinot noir), while the sauvignon blanc and chardonnay are made from fruit grown near Brightwater. These, as well as other aromatic-style varieties, are also being grown at Whenua Matua, so eventually the vast majority of wines produced under the Aronui label will be grown there.

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