Tora Bay Wines is the wine venture of Wellington-based Martin Bonifant. While Martin's commercial background is in finance and property he also comes from a 4th generation South Island farming family. His roots lie firmly in agriculture. Martin has now been involved in the wine industry for over twenty years.
Tora Bay Wines was born in 2003 with the first vintage from Martinborough in 2008. However, Martin knew these lands well before the first grapes were planted. He used to ride in the area on his horse, Tom, when it was all still farmed with sheep and cattle.
Tora Bay Wines’ Winemaker, Tony Prichard, is based in the Hawkes Bay. Tony has held senior winemaking positions throughout his career, including Head Winemaker with one of New Zealand's oldest and largest wine companies. Tony is a rare and truly talented Winemaker who is dedicated to bringing consistency and premium quality to the Tora Bay wine range.
Whilst the process of making the Tora Bay wines is intricate and complex,
Martin and Tony live by two simple rules:
1. “The wine must come first,” and 2. “We must both like it”.
THE TORA BAY STORY
The Tora Bay Wine brand is synonymous with its home vineyard's unique location in Martinborough, New Zealand. Martinborough is a boutique wine growing area in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand. Sitting at the bottom of the North Island, Martinborough is separated from the South Island by a wild and often dangerous body of water named the Cook Strait.
Tora is the name of the local coastal area that is renown for its stunning scenery, and its rugged and remote coastline. It’s home to ancient Maori Pa sites, New Zealand fur seal colonies and the local New Zealand fish, the “Kahawi”. You’ll find these Kahawi on our labels, while the label itself is the shape of the Maori Waka prow. It is from this wild landscape and intricate culture that we find our daily inspiration for all our Tora Bay wines.
*Beautiful photos of the local area by @willowannafalleni and @janegrover