Rich in History

The Story

Welcome to Man O' War

On the challenging and remote landscape of Waiheke Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf you’ll find Man O’ War.  A 4,500-acre family farm with over 150-acres under vine.

We planted our first vines at Man O’ War in 1993.  Over the next two decades we explored our farm and analysed the kingdom that lies beneath in search of the best single vineyard locations to one day make world-class wine.

Today you’ll find no less than 75 vineyards across the farm, and a few we’ve abandoned along the way.  We’ve become well known for our Syrah, Chardonnay and Waiheke’s signature Bordeaux Blends.  We also produce a distinctly different Sauvignon Blanc and our seriously drinkable (infamous) Rosé.

Our Vineyard

The Man O’ War story begins with a special piece of land rich in history. Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, Man O’ War is a stunning array of coastal hillsides with high cliffs and pristine beaches forming a ruggedly beautiful coastline.

It was along this coastline that Captain James Cook came to anchor during his first voyage around the islands of New Zealand in 1769. Upon sighting the ancient stands of magnificent Kauri trees ashore, Cook noted in his journals that they would make ideal masts for the Man O’ War warships of the Royal Navy. Thus the name Man O’ War was bestowed upon this unique land.

White Wines

Driven by this blueprint, our white varieties have been carefully placed high on the exposed volcanic hilltops of Man O’ War so that they benefit from cooling sea breezes, extending their growing season and giving them great concentration and minerality.

Red Wines

While our red varieties are draped down precipitously steep sheltered clay hillsides enjoying the heat and drainage provided, promoting serious intensity and depth.

Duncan McTavish

Winemaker & CEO

Duncan’s heart and soul, and enormous talent, are all reflected in each of the extraordinary wines he crafts at Man O’ War. The inaugural graduate of the Viticulture and Oneology degree program at Lincoln University in 1998, Duncan spent the following three years working harvest for some of the best producers in Burgundy, Germany, California, Australia and New Zealand.

This apprenticeship culminated in a job with the Waipara Valley’s inimitable Pegasus Bay in 2001. After nearly four years under the wing of Pegasus, Duncan left to develop his own winemaking philosophy at Waipara Springs. An evolutionary process that turned revolutionary in 2008 when Duncan took the helm at Man O’ War and began to craft exceptional wines of singular personality that have become the definitive translation of our land

Matt Allen

Vineyard Manager

Matt is irrefutably dedicated to the pursuit of wine growing excellence and has meticulously fashioned and farmed each and every vineyard at Man O’ War from the ground up. Born and raised in Gisborne, Matt was a regular feature of the sports fields around Poverty Bay emulating the feats of his father and uncles who all made national age group honours in either rugby or boxing.

After an apprenticeship in New Zealand with Montana and an OE in Wales, Matt joined Man O’ War as our first and only Vineyard Manager. He has lived in Man O’ War Bay since 1993, when he planted the first vines on our land, in a home he now shares with his wife Denise and their two daughters, Brooklyn and Gracie.

Our Family Owners

A Family Wine Business

For over a hundred years, generations of our family have sailed past the Eastern End of Waiheke Island admiring its spectacular natural beauty and rugged coastline.

With the desire to protect and enhance this treasured piece of land, our family progressively purchased the four contiguous farms that now form Man O’ War Station through the early 1980’s.

As that decade progressed and we became witness to the world class wines being grown on Waiheke by Stephen White at Stonyridge and the Goldwaters, we decided to join the fray and began to develop what we believe has now become one of New Zealand’s great vineyards and the basis of a family wine business for generations to come.