Our Legacy

1895

Josip Babich, the founder of Babich Wines, is born in Dalmatia (part of modern day Croatia).

Location

1910

At just 14 years old Josip emigrates to New Zealand to join his three brothers, who are earning a living digging and selling Kauri gum in New Zealand's far north.

Location

1911

The Babich brothers put a deposit on land in Henderson Valley (West Auckland), which later becomes the family homestead, winery and company headquarters.

Location

1912

Josip plants his first vineyard on a terrace above the Kaikino Swamp gum field.

Location

1916

Josip makes his first New Zealand wine, selling it in casks and bottles under the name Babich Brothers.
100 YEARS, 100 STORIES

Location

1919

Josip and his brothers move to the 29 hectare (72 acres) wilderness property in Henderson (West Auckland), which they had purchased in 1911. Initially they established a small orchard and planted classical Pinot Meunier vines.

Location

1929

Josip marries Mara Grgic and they have five children over the following years.

Location

1939 - 1945

Babich wine proves popular amongst the American troops who are in Auckland on rest and recreation leave during World War II.

Location

1949

Josip’s son, Peter, joins him on the family vineyard.

Location

1950 - 1955

The original West Auckland vineyard is extended after an adjoining property, known as the ‘Price Block’, is purchased.

Location

1958

Josip’s son, Joseph, joins Babich Wines.

Location

1960 - 1965

The winery expands, with a growing emphasis on table wine production.

Location

1967

The vineyard is extended again after a 24 hectare adjoining property, the ‘Dodson Block’, is purchased. Muller Thurgau, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Pinotage vines are planted on the newly acquired land.

Location

1977

Babich Wines purchases Muller Thurgau grapes from Gisborne for table wine production. The winery is re-equipped and re-modernised for table wine production.

Location

1978

The remaining fruit orchard at the Henderson winery is uprooted and replanted with Chardonnay vines.

Location

1980

Babich makes its first export to Europe, sending its New Zealand wine to Germany. This achievement was a highlight of Josip's winemaking career.

Location

1981

The Babich 1981 Pinot Noir receives the first Gold medal for the variety in a New Zealand wine competition.

Location

1983

Josip Babich dies aged 87 years.

Location

1984

Babich begins producing wine from the Gimblett Gravels region in Hawke's Bay.

Location

1985

Babich’s first Irongate wines are produced from the Irongate Vineyard on Gimblett Road, Hawke’s Bay.

Location

1987

Babich Wines makes its first investment in a Hawke's Bay vineyard. Fernhill goes on to become New Zealand’s first sustainably registered vineyard.

Location

1989

A second, 36 hectare vineyard, Gimblett Rd, is established in Hawke's Bay. Peter Babich is named a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to the wine industry.

Location

1991

Babich celebrates its 75th Anniversary. First Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is produced and the company processes 1,000 tonnes of grapes annually. Babich Wines are now sold both nationally and internationally, with key export markets including the UK, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany.

Location

1994

Mara Babich dies aged 91 years. Joe Babich receives Winemaker of the Year award at the Royal New Zealand Easter Show.

Location

1996

Babich celebrates its 80th anniversary and introduces a new label, ‘The Patriarch’, in honour of founder, Josip Babich. Peter Babich is named a Fellow (Life Member) of the Wine Institute of New Zealand. A new bottling hall is built and new bottling line installed at the Henderson winery. Joe Babich is Chief Wine Judge at the National Wine Competition for the sixth time.

Location

1998

Babich Wines purchases Wakefield Downs, a 42 hectare vineyard in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough.

Location

2000

Babich purchases a shareholding in Rapaura Vintners Winery in Marlborough, enabling the company to maximise quality by producing wine close to its South Island vineyards. Export sales of Babich Wines now exceed domestic sales.

Location

2001

David Babich (Peter Babich's son) becomes the third generation of the Babich family to join the company.

Location

2006

A 90th Anniversary black tie dinner for 260 guests is held at the Henderson winery on 2nd December. Attendees include the New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, and Waitakere City Mayor, Bob Harvey.

Location

2007

Babich takes over Rongopai Wines and transfers wine production to its Henderson winery.

Location

2008

The remaining sections of the Henderson winery are rebuilt to modern specifications. Babich Wines UK Ltd is formed to manage the distribution of Babich wines in the United Kingdom.

Location

2009

The organic block at Headwaters Vineyard in Marlborough receives Bio-Gro organic wine certification. Babich Family Estates Headwaters Organic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is released to the domestic and export markets.

Location

2010

Babich increases its shareholding in Rapaura Vintners winery in Marlborough to 50%.

Location

2011

Babich celebrates its 95th Anniversary. New look branding and wine labels are introduced.

Location

2012

The shareholding in Rapaura Vintners winery is sold and Babich begins the process of building a new winery in Blenheim. A 64 hectare vineyard, Tetley Brook, is purchased in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough and an 8 hectare vineyard, Highway 50, is purchased in Gimblett Gravels, Hawke's Bay.

Location

2013

Babich’s new Marlborough winery is completed. The company acquires the 9.7 hectare St. John Vineyard in the Bridge Pa Triangle, Hawke's Bay. Headwaters Vineyard is expanded to 57 hectares and converted to 100% organic wine production.

Location

2014

The new Babich Marlborough winery produces its first wine vintage, processing more than 4,000 tonnes of grapes. A 79 hectare vineyard, Echelon, is purchased in the Waihopai Valley, Marlborough. Peter and Joe Babich are awarded the Sir George Fistonich Medal for services to the New Zealand wine industry.

Location

2015

Joe Babich is made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to the wine industry. Peter and Joe Babich are inducted into the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame.

Location

2016

Babich Wines celebrates 100 years of innovation, achievement and winemaking excellence.

Location