... once upon a time...
The Passage Rock dream was first conceptualized in 1991 when founders David and Veronika Evans Gander sat together in an ancient West Australian forest surrounded by vineyards.
The concept to create fantastic wines in a beautiful place near the sea was merely the dream of two young people in their prime seeking their way in life.
One year later they were married and living and working towards that goal in Switzerland, Veronika’s homeland.
In 1993 a journey was made back to the southern hemisphere to purchase their dream location. Through their years of experience in Europe, Australia and New Zealand they knew instantly when they arrived at this beautiful location on the eastern end of an island over blessed with beauty and already making some of New Zealands finest Bordeaux reds that this was the location for their dream project.
An awesome property was purchased on beautiful Waiheke Island and one further year was spent gathering experience, saving and for Veronika preparing to say goodbye to her homeland. This property would go on to becoming Waiheke's most awarded winery.
In 1994, our first vines were planted on Passage Rock Vineyard, located in isolated splendour at the eastern end of Waiheke. In a hot valley at the head of Te Matuku Bay the first vines consisted of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon along with the current trends on Waiheke Island.
In 1996 the first Syrah vines were planted at Passage Rock somewhat against the trend but with calculated risk taking and trying to emulate the trophy winning success that had been enjoyed in Margaret River for Syrah by David at Vasse Felix.
1998 and 1999
Our first two wines were presented under the Camana Farm label and the 1999 Forte shot to fame gaining 5 stars from Michael Cooper but also being recognized as offering very good value.
The new packaging and incremental quality improvements brought strength to our brand and the 2000 Forte again gained 5 stars from Michael Cooper. The 2000 Syrah scored well in the various New Zealand reds tastings and marked the birth of a very successful addition to our portfolio.
In 2001 the brand Passage Rock was created. It coincided with the birth of our first son Johnny.
Since 2001 Passage Rock has gone on to be known as Waiheke Island's most awarded winery in New Zealand wine shows, gaining up to 60 medals in a short time including the trophy at the Air New Zealand Wineshow in 2004 for its Syrah which has had an unbroken record of a gold medal each year to this day.
2002 - current..
Every red wine made since 2002 has won a medal and many of the whites have too. We are probably Waiheke Island's most awarded Winery.
In 2004 the 2003 Passage Rock Syrah took out the trophy for the Best New Zealand syrah at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards
The Syrah has won a gold medal ever since and the 2006 Reserve Syrah has recently been awarded 5 stars from Bob Campbell New Zealand's best known master of wine.
At Passage Rock we now produce some 4000 cases of fine wine and host Waiheke Island's friendliest cellar door, we still produce wine with the same passion and enthusiasm, and are dedicated to making truly expressive wines reflecting the season, the sites and the commitment to our vision. We hope you can enjoy and appreciate some of our fine products soon in the best of company and with great food.
David and Veronika Evans-Gander