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The Mount Michael Vineyard arose out of Sue and Martin Anderson’s desire to live and run a business in Central Otago. The couple spent nearly two years finding the right site; a six hectare plot overlooking the Wanaka – Queenstown turnoff at Cromwell. An initial three-hectare vineyard was planted with approximately half Chardonnay grapes and the other half in Pinot Noir grapes.

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The first harvest of grapes from the Mount Michael Vineyard were picked, and blessed by the local Anglican Church Vicar. Causing some controversy as the local Catholic Church went on to being included in the founding label.

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In order to focus her initial efforts on the vineyard, Sue sold grapes from the first two years harvest to Chard Farm. By 1999, Sue felt that the vineyard was well established and the grapes had achieved sufficient quality. The first wines under the “Mount Michael” label were made by Matt Dicey of Mt Difficulty.

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The Central Otago Wine Growers Association (COWA) showcased the region for the first time in London at New Zealand House. Mount Michael Wines was apart of this maiden journey to the United Kingdom, entering in the The London International Wine Challenge and awarded a Silver Medal for the 2002 Pinot Noir at the worlds largest wine competition.

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After a decade the Anderson family sold Mount Michael Wines to a consortium of wine enthusiasts. With the success of Mount Michael Wines premium reserve wine was created and named after an original and most loved “employee”, Bessie. A Fox terrier and rabbit hunter of legend, she was vineyard “supervisor” for many years. Mount Michael Wines retained this reserve wine until 2016 when her name was finally retired.

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Alan Scott of the aforementioned investment consortium went on to buy out his other investors from the vineyard and later that year the remaining syndicate inclusive of Peter Morrison & Debbie Laycock purchased a new seven-hectare plot in Lowburn where Mount Michael Wines found its new home.

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Maintaining the quality and prestige of Mount Michael Wines the 2005 ‘Bessie’s Block’ Pinot Noir placed Pure Gold at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and Gold at the Brigato Awards. The 2005 Chardonnay also placed Silver in the Air New Zealand Wine Awards also.

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The Air New Zealand Wine Awards placed the 2006 Mount Michael Pinot Noir Pure Silver and provided the 2006 Bessies Block Chardonnay with a Silver Medal.

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The Air New Zealand Wine Awards judged the Mount Michael Bessie’s Block Pinot Noir 2012 and awarded the wine with a Pure Elite Gold Medal. In the same year the China Wine & Spirits Awards selected the Mount Michael Pinot Noir 2013 as winner of Gold in the CWSA Best Value competition.

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Accolades continued for Mount Michael Wines ‘Bessies Block’ Awarded Pure Gold at the Bragato Wine Awards for the 2012 vintage. In the same year the Air New Zealand Wine Awards placed the 2014 Pinot Gris with a Pure Elite Gold Medal.

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The next generation. Anna Dunsdon together with her husband Tim & family acquired Mount Michael in 2015. Anna has had one foot this side of the Tasman from birth, growing up in Brisbane to kiwi parents with businesses in Otago and a large extended family across New Zealand. The 2013 vintage of Bessie’s Block Pinot Noir places Pure Elite Silver at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

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New friendships are formed with three generational growers sourcing their premium fruit from Lowburn, Bendigo & Gibbston; subregions of Central Otago.

Our 2016 Pinot Gris debuts Gold at the New Zealand Aromatic Wine Awards.

The Mt Michael Lodge is opened by Alistair & Fiona Marris, the first luxury accommodation of its kind amongst Central Otago vines.

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In 2016 our Reserve Pinot Noir wasn’t the only good thing gathering momentum. Our baby niece was conceived, and whilst she only had 9 and a bit months ‘in barrel’ her parents named her Isla Robbie when she came into the world in 2017.

We are thrilled to announce ISLA is our Reserve Pinot Noir for 2016, ongoing where great vintages permit. Debuting Gold in the Exhibition Category of the 2017 Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

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Watch this space, great wine is coming.

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