The Land

"the poorer the soil, the better the wine"

Frenchmans Hill Estate is ideally situated on the steep northern slopes at the base of the Te Whau Peninsula on iconic Waiheke Island. The soil is impoverished pink clay which is gravelly, sandy and free-draining. The earth is described as quartz kaolinate over greywacke sub-rock which is mineral rich. As the french say "the poorer the soil, the better the wine".

In 1821, wanting to avenge previous defeats by Tāmaki tribes, the Ngāpuhi leader Hongi Hika launched an attack on Waiheke. With 2,000 men and 1,000 muskets he stormed two Ngāti Paoa pa (fortified settlements) adjacent to Frenchmans Hill Estate. According to legend the battle turned the waters red hence our famous Blood Creek 8, symbolising the bloodshed.

The area is a perfect combination of maritime climate, pedigree wine selections, soil and people to create some of New Zealand's most profound wines. It is very similar climatically to the Medoc Region of France.

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