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Happenings from the vineyards, wineries and roads travelled between.

Raymond Chan Review of the Tono

Tono Spanish-Inspired Wines by Ant Mackenzie

With over two decades working in wine, Ant Mackenzie has experienced a journey that would be the envy of many aspiring winemakers today. Heading winemaking positions at Framingham, Spy Valley, Mud House, then with the Dry River-Te Awa-Kidnapper Cliffs group owned by Julian Robertson, Ant is now a valued consultant at a number of well-established and new winemaking businesses. Ant and his wife Fiona have now embarked on their own wine venture, based on three brands, employing Hawke’s Bay fruit: ‘Craft Farm’, wines from their home vineyard in Havelock North, ‘Theory and Practice’, contemporary wines which allow Ant to explore the boundaries of style, and ‘Tono’, inspired by the wines of Spain.

The Spanish connection is strong in Hawke’s Bay. Around a century ago, Anthony Vidal came from Spain to make his mark on the wine industry, and his name continues today in the Vidal Estate brand under the Villa Maria Estates group. Ant Mackenzie tells his story: around 100 years after Anthony Vidal arrived, he visited Spain to further his wine experience, the locals nicknaming him ‘Tono’ (pronounced TonYo). Ant came back to Hawke’s Bay in 2009 and planted his home vineyard, with the desire to make wines in the styles he enjoyed in Spain. Thus the ‘Tono’ brand was born, with fun, lifestyle wines using Spanish varieties grown in a climate similar to the Mediterranean, and labelled with a ‘Spanish Mission’ look. Here, I review the four Toño releases. For availability, contact Ant Mackenzie on Tel: 021 502-996, or Email: ant@antswines.co.nz