Vineyard practices at Fairhall
Downs Estate are meticulous, earning the family-run company a library
of gold medals and trophies for its wines.
Ken and Jill Small started growing grapes under
contract in 1982 on the Marlborough property they had then recently
purchased. In 1994, they formed a partnership with daughter Julie and
her husband Stuart Smith who, like Ken, came from an agricultural
background, farming with sheep and deer in Canterbury.
Together, Ken and Stuart worked side by side at
Fairhall Downs. Vineyard tips and techniques were passed on, hopes and
ambitions shared and soon a winemaker was being hired. In 1996, the
first wines were produced in bottles wearing the Fairhall Downs Estate
The family now prides itself on producing
consecutive vintages of premium, single vineyard wines. They are sold
widely throughout New Zealand, while recognition overseas makes the
export market an important part of the business.