With an impressive line of credits to his name, Ant MacKenzie is consultant winemaker at a number of first class wineries including one of New Zealand's very most premium and cellar-focused producers, Dry River. Yet he and his wife Fiona still find time on the side to run three labels of their own: Craft Farm wines reflect their own home block in Havelock North; the Tono label explores their love of Spanish varieties such as Albarino and Tempranillo, which are done with genuine love and knowledge; while Theory and Practice is conceived as a platform for Ant to push the boundaries of traditional vinification.
With respect to the Craft Farm wines Ant writes – “As a kid I dreamed of being a farmer. Not just any farmer, a Craft Farmer. I wanted to grow things and make and market a product from the land. There was plenty of inspiration, my Grand Father Tom was a Craft Farmer. He milked cows and was the Chairman of the dairy company he and his brother set up after World War Two. Growing stuff is a noble pursuit. Be it wine, food or flowers- all agricultural products that sustain us, mind and body, and connect us to the land.
Craft Farm is the name of our small vineyard in Havelock North. Some of the wines under this range come from home but others are grown elsewhere. We don’t farm a large area or have flash equipment. All of the tractor work is done using our vintage Massey Fergusson 135 and the rest of the work is done by hand. The grapes were planted by friends and family over three consecutive years from 2010. All blocks are planted with as many different clonal selections that I could find-some we collected the bud-wood and grew ourselves. We grow our grapes without irrigation and using a holistic farming approach. It gives us great pleasure growing and making the wines we enjoy drinking. We are Craft Farmers. The Craft Farm range includes Chardonnay, Syrah, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir. We have also produced an intriguing skin contact wine we call ‘Rose-Hip’. These wines are bottled in small volumes under a cork closure."