Rod spent nine years as winemaker at Vidal Estate in Hawke's Bay and was awarded New Zealand Winemaker of the year in 2006, glory days. He left later that year with a few ideas about what Hawke's Bay wines could be like, where the great ones would come from, and started Rod McDonald Wines which is now Te Awanga Estate.
The plan was to consult to a few leading producers and launch a family of wines, which now sits with Trademark, Quarter Acre, Te Awanga Estate, Mister and One Off. Winemaking happens at The Hawkes Bay Wine Company in Pandora on the edge of Napier, while their cellar door and spiritual home is on the coast at Te Awanga.
Recently Rod's Trademark 2015 Syrah (in 2019) and Quarter Acre 2015 Syrah (in 2017) were recognised at the prestigious prestigious International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London. Winning four trophies a piece (best International Syrah, New Zealand Syrah, New Zealand Red and Hawke’s Bay Syrah) the Quarter Acre 2015 Syrah also won the trophy for Champion Red Wine of Show judged the best out of over 15,000 red wines entered that year.
Rod’s a Senior Judge at the New Zealand International Wineshow and spent six years as Chairman of the Hawke's Bay Winegrowers Association, helping establish us as one of the great winegrowing regions of the world. Way back in history he grabbed a Post Grad Diploma in Viticulture at Lincoln University.
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