About a half hour drive north of the city Aukland, Andrew and Cynthia Hendry first established Coopers Creek Vineyard in 1980 with the intention of producing the premium wines from New Zealand's cool climate.

Four hectares of land were purchased at the Huapai site and work started on the winery buildings and Chardonnay and Merlot vines were planted. Randy Weaver joined them and became both a partner and company's first ever winemaker.

As the first few vintages were released things developed quickly and to compliment new international customers, a second site was planted at Middle Road in the Hawkes Bay. During the 1980s Kim Crawford became winemaker until he would ultimately move on to larger projects. In 1997 Simon Nunns joined Coopers Creek and is still there today.

Over thirty years on from its birth, Coopers Creek is still a family owned winery exporting wine to over twenty countries worldwide. The winery and vineyard site at Huapai has matured well over the years and is now the source of excellent wines.

They now produce wines from many different regions. Cool climate whites such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling are grown in Marlborough, while in the warmer Gisborne experimentations with varieties such as Albarino, Gruner Veltliner and Arneis have shown interesting results. In Central Otago a full bodied Pinot Noir is grown while in Hawkes Bay the bigger varietal are planted, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Hawkes Bay Merlot 2012 by Coopers Creek Vineyards Ruby red with garnet reflections it offers a savoury nose with some remnants of vibrant red fruit. On the palate it shows great finesse, balance and bright crunchy berry fruit. This is what cool climate Merlot is all about. (May 2017)