Our Story

Reaching New Zealand shores in 1838, pioneering French missionaries founded a legacy.

From their many accomplishments now interwoven throughout history came New Zealand’s first winery, Mission in 1851.  Their inspiration, a legacy we continue.

Our Story

Mission Estate is a multi-award-winning winery and an iconic New Zealand landmark located in the heart of Hawke’s Bay. Established in 1851 by French missionaries, it is New Zealand’s oldest winery and home to a heritage like no other.

Paul Mooney, our passionate winemaker since 1979, crafts a wide range of classic red and white varietals characterised by purity of flavour, finesse and delicacy. Trained by the Marist Brothers themselves, Paul imparts the very essence of Mission’s French heritage winemaking philosophy into both our Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough wines.

We consider ourselves guardians of our heritage and our land, and for more than 20 years we have been proud to be a founding member of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand. In 1998, we were also one of the first wineries in New Zealand to be certified with the internationally recognised environmental management system ISO 14001. Both certifications represent Mission’s ongoing commitment and dedication to minimising our impact on the environment.

Our Heritage

Mission Estate Winery has a fascinating past, surviving everything from floods to earthquakes, cutting the building into 11 parts and transporting it to its current site in Taradale using traction engines, all the while planting and growing grapes in Hawke’s Bay. Check out some of the historical images below to follow our story.


Our Vineyards

Mission was first to introduce vines to the Hawke’s Bay in the 1850s.  Today, our vineyards span two of New Zealand’s best winegrowing regions; Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough, and we are proud to hold some of the finest vineyard sites in New Zealand.

New Zealand Winegrowing

Central to the success of New Zealand as a world-renowned wine growing region is the temperate maritime climate and free-draining alluvial soils.

The growing season is long, providing perfect conditions for the slow ripening and full flavour development.  Cool nights and warm days retain fruit acidity which lends itself to freshness and vibrancy which is highly characteristic of New Zealand wine styles.

Hawke’s Bay

Located on the east coast of the North Island, Hawke’s Bay wine region is on the warmest growing regions in New Zealand.  The long and warm growing season provides for excellent ripening conditions and full flavour development delivering rich and fruity wines.

Our Hawke’s Bay vineyards in the Gimblett Gravels and Taradale focus on Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, but also include small blocks of other varietals such as Semillon and Cabernet Franc.

Additional supply comes from our long-term grower partners.


Located at the top of the South Island, Marlborough conditions are perfect for producing cool climate wine styles. Marlborough is one of New Zealand’s sunniest and driest places, with a long growing season and strong diurnal temperature variation. This leads to fruit driven wines with intense varietal character.

Our Marlborough vineyard, Cable Station Road in the Awatere Valley supplies cooler climate varietals of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

Our People

Our people are our foundation and our future.  Our values are rooted deeply in our culture and everything we do nurtures an environment for support and success.

Peter Holley

Chief Executive

Peter Holley, originally from South Africa, has held the position of CEO at Mission Estate since 1996.  In this role he has led the company to success, achieving the position of a top ten New Zealand wine producer and formidable producer of fine wine.  Peter is focused on continual improvement.

Paul Mooney

Head Winemaker

Paul Mooney has been the winemaker at Mission Estate for 40 years, making him one of the most experienced winemakers in New Zealand. Paul’s winemaking philosophies are heavily influenced by his mentor, Brother John, who trained in Bordeaux during the 60s.

Steve Wheeler


Steve joined Mission in October 2013. Steve has significant experience in both viticulture and horticulture, holding a Master of Applied Science in Viticulture from Charles Sturt University in Australia and a Bachelor of Horticultural Science from Lincoln University. Steve is responsible for overseeing the company’s fruit supply.

Tony Stanford

National Sales Manager

Tony is a highly experienced National Sales Manager whose journey at Mission started in 1999 having already achieved over 12 years at Coca Cola Amatil.  Tony manages all the key accounts and a bright team of area representatives proudly keeping our great wines well stocked around the country.

Jo Pearson

Marketing Manager

Jo has worked in wine since 2001, firstly as a viticulturist across Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough vineyards, before moving into marketing and sales in 2008.  Since this time, Jo has delivered key strategic business development projects and brand development initiatives in New Zealand and global markets.  Holding a Bachelor of Management Studies in Marketing from the University of Waikato, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Viticulture & Winemaking from Lincoln University, Jo has an excellent understanding of the whole wine industry and relishes the challenge of working with one of New Zealand’s most iconic wine brands.

Mitch Gardiner

Export Manager

Mitch has extensive sales experience and has held positions in the food service sector. Mitch has held senior positions within the Marlborough wine industry developing and implementing sales and marketing strategy for domestic and international markets. He has also worked on the operations side giving him a broad view of wine business positioning him perfectly for his role at Mission which focuses on developing our international markets.

Fraser Hope

Financial Controller

Fraser is a Chartered Accountant, holding a Bachelor of Commerce and Arts from the University of Canterbury.  Having worked in variety of industries gaining experience in hospitality, insurance and engineering both in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Fraser understands what is needed for a business to be successful.  Growing up on a Hawke’s Bay orchard, Fraser returned to Hawke’s Bay with his family in 2017.

Heritage Photo Gallery

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