Our History Our History

Inspired by a Dream

Our History

After sailing the Pacific Ocean in the pursuit of adventure, Whitehaven founders Greg and Sue White set a new course when they arrived in the Marlborough Sounds in 1994. It was here at the top of New Zealand’s South Island — amidst the sunny, tranquil bays and stunning natural landscape — that they dropped anchor and established Whitehaven Wines.

Today the winery is headed by Sue White. An enthusiastic advocate of Marlborough wines, she continues to realize the dreams she shared with her late husband, Greg, of crafting acclaimed, world-class family wines. Every bottle of Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc proudly carries the anchor insignia, the distinctive mark of Whitehaven’s exceptional quality from an extraordinary region.

1991

Whitehaven founders Sue and Greg White meet in Wellington.

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1991

1991

Whitehaven founders Sue and Greg White meet in Wellington.

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1992

Sue and Greg’s daughter, Samantha, is born. She spends the first six months of her life on the yacht.

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1992

1992

Sue and Greg’s daughter, Samantha, is born. She spends the first six months of her life on the yacht.

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1994

Inspired by their time in Marlborough, Sue and Greg, decide to start a family winery in the heart of this new exciting wine region. They had found their haven. The White’s name their family winery “Whitehaven,” combining their family name with “haven,” representing the calm, welcoming port they found in Marlborough. They begin with a commitment to uncompromising focus on quality and integrity.

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1994

1994

Inspired by their time in Marlborough, Sue and Greg, decide to start a family winery in the heart of this new exciting wine region. They had found their haven. The White’s name their family winery “Whitehaven,” combining their family name with “haven,” representing the calm, welcoming port they found in Marlborough. They begin with a commitment to uncompromising focus on quality and integrity.

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1996-2000

During the next five years, a small but successful team of four (Sue, Greg, Simon and David Day) work to make Whitehaven a celebrated showcase of Marlborough wines.

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2003

1996-2000

During the next five years, a small but successful team of four (Sue, Greg, Simon and David Day) work to make Whitehaven a celebrated showcase of Marlborough wines.

timeline rule

2003

Whitehaven becomes one of the first New Zealand wineries to find wide success in the United States, including becoming the first New Zealand wine to be included in the top 100 wines sold in US restaurants.

timeline rule
2003

2003

Whitehaven becomes one of the first New Zealand wineries to find wide success in the United States, including becoming the first New Zealand wine to be included in the top 100 wines sold in US restaurants.

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2009

Sam Smail is named Senior Winemaker. Having worked at the winery since 2000, Sam is the perfect choice to steer Whitehaven forward into the future.

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2009

2009

Sam Smail is named Senior Winemaker. Having worked at the winery since 2000, Sam is the perfect choice to steer Whitehaven forward into the future.

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2015

Whitehaven acquires two new vineyard sites, giving the winery over 100 hectares of estate-owned vineyards throughout Marlborough’s three sub-regions (Wairau Valley, Southern Valleys and Awatere Valley). Whitehaven continues their vision of making incredible, distinctively Marlborough wines.

timeline rule
2015

2015

Whitehaven acquires two new vineyard sites, giving the winery over 100 hectares of estate-owned vineyards throughout Marlborough’s three sub-regions (Wairau Valley, Southern Valleys and Awatere Valley). Whitehaven continues their vision of making incredible, distinctively Marlborough wines.

timeline rule
timeline rule

1991

Sue and Greg pack up their lives to sail the Pacific in search of a more tranquil lifestyle. Their home for the next few years is a Salthouse 48-foot yacht called Chanticleer.

1991
timeline rule

1991

Sue and Greg pack up their lives to sail the Pacific in search of a more tranquil lifestyle. Their home for the next few years is a Salthouse 48-foot yacht called Chanticleer.

timeline rule

1993

After sailing the Pacific Islands, the Whites seek a haven in the Marlborough Sounds as hurricane season approaches. They spend time with family friends in Marlborough, helping plant grapes.

1993
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1993

After sailing the Pacific Islands, the Whites seek a haven in the Marlborough Sounds as hurricane season approaches. They spend time with family friends in Marlborough, helping plant grapes.

timeline rule

1995

Greg’s financial prowess combined with Sue’s endless optimism and energy proves to be a winning combination. Joined by winemaker Simon Waghorn, Whitehaven earns acclaim early on, winning a trophy for their 1995 vintage.

1995
timeline rule

1995

Greg’s financial prowess combined with Sue’s endless optimism and energy proves to be a winning combination. Joined by winemaker Simon Waghorn, Whitehaven earns acclaim early on, winning a trophy for their 1995 vintage.

timeline rule

2002

By 2002, Whitehaven outgrows their small founding winery. Sue and Greg move to a former apple orchard in Rapaura, a place that is now known as Marlborough’s “Golden Mile” of winemaking.

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2007

After a battle with cancer, founder Greg White sadly passes away. Since then, Evelyn, a boat that Greg was partway through restoring when he passed, sits at the entrance to the winery. It serves as a reminder of the dream that Sue and Greg shared, what they accomplished together and what Sue continues to achieve at the helm of this internationally acclaimed winery.

2007
timeline rule

2007

After a battle with cancer, founder Greg White sadly passes away. Since then, Evelyn, a boat that Greg was partway through restoring when he passed, sits at the entrance to the winery. It serves as a reminder of the dream that Sue and Greg shared, what they accomplished together and what Sue continues to achieve at the helm of this internationally acclaimed winery.

timeline rule

2014

Whitehaven celebrates their 21st vintage with new winery improvements, giving the team a home that reflects the focus, quality and success of the Whitehaven name.

2014
timeline rule

2014

Whitehaven celebrates their 21st vintage with new winery improvements, giving the team a home that reflects the focus, quality and success of the Whitehaven name.

timeline rule

Today

Sue White continues to be at the helm of Whitehaven, continuing the dream she and Greg shared.

Today
timeline rule

Today

Sue White continues to be at the helm of Whitehaven, continuing the dream she and Greg shared.

1991

1991

Whitehaven founders Sue and Greg White meet in Wellington.

timeline rule
1991
timeline rule

1991

Sue and Greg pack up their lives to sail the Pacific in search of a more tranquil lifestyle. Their home for the next few years is a Salthouse 48-foot yacht called Chanticleer.

1992

1992

Sue and Greg’s daughter, Samantha, is born. She spends the first six months of her life on the yacht.

timeline rule
1993
timeline rule

1993

After sailing the Pacific Islands, the Whites seek a haven in the Marlborough Sounds as hurricane season approaches. They spend time with family friends in Marlborough, helping plant grapes.

1994

1994

Inspired by their time in Marlborough, Sue and Greg, decide to start a family winery in the heart of this new exciting wine region. They had found their haven. The White’s name their family winery “Whitehaven,” combining their family name with “haven,” representing the calm, welcoming port they found in Marlborough. They begin with a commitment to uncompromising focus on quality and integrity.

timeline rule
1995
timeline rule

1995

Greg’s financial prowess combined with Sue’s endless optimism and energy proves to be a winning combination. Joined by winemaker Simon Waghorn, Whitehaven earns acclaim early on, winning a trophy for their 1995 vintage.

2003

1996-2000

During the next five years, a small but successful team of four (Sue, Greg, Simon and David Day) work to make Whitehaven a celebrated showcase of Marlborough wines.

timeline rule
timeline rule

2002

By 2002, Whitehaven outgrows their small founding winery. Sue and Greg move to a former apple orchard in Rapaura, a place that is now known as Marlborough’s “Golden Mile” of winemaking.

2003

2003

Whitehaven becomes one of the first New Zealand wineries to find wide success in the United States, including becoming the first New Zealand wine to be included in the top 100 wines sold in US restaurants.

timeline rule
2007
timeline rule

2007

After a battle with cancer, founder Greg White sadly passes away. Since then, Evelyn, a boat that Greg was partway through restoring when he passed, sits at the entrance to the winery. It serves as a reminder of the dream that Sue and Greg shared, what they accomplished together and what Sue continues to achieve at the helm of this internationally acclaimed winery.

2009

2009

Sam Smail is named Senior Winemaker. Having worked at the winery since 2000, Sam is the perfect choice to steer Whitehaven forward into the future.

timeline rule
2014
timeline rule

2014

Whitehaven celebrates their 21st vintage with new winery improvements, giving the team a home that reflects the focus, quality and success of the Whitehaven name.

2015

2015

Whitehaven acquires two new vineyard sites, giving the winery over 100 hectares of estate-owned vineyards throughout Marlborough’s three sub-regions (Wairau Valley, Southern Valleys and Awatere Valley). Whitehaven continues their vision of making incredible, distinctively Marlborough wines.

timeline rule
Today
timeline rule

Today

Sue White continues to be at the helm of Whitehaven, continuing the dream she and Greg shared.

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