Kaimira Ventures Winery is just outside the village of Brightwater in the Nelson province at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. The winery and associated 26 hectares of vineyards are owned by Ian Miller and June Hamilton.
Our aim is to make high quality and affordable wines having the lightest possible environmental footprint. We are looking to export at least half of our production and already have established outlets in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia. China is a promising new customer.
Approximately 12000 cases were produced in 2007. The aim is to increase production to 25,000 cases over the next few years as the vineyards come into full production. Approximately 30% of the wine is made under the premium Kaimira Estate brand which includes limited releases of speciality varietals and styles; the balance is used for Brightside – our popular brand.
The first Kaimira vineyard was planted in 1997 and the original winery was opened in time for the 1999 vintage. The first winery building was a converted kiwi fruit packing shed and, whilst fully functional, it had a definite rural touch and was once described by a well known wine writer as a “barn door” operation.
By 2006 the winery had reached maximum capacity and planning began for a purpose designed replacement building. After close to two years working through the RMA requirements and erecting and fitting out the winery it was finally opened in December 2007.
The name Kaimira means “flour mill” and was chosen because of a historical link between the site of the first winery and the naming of the nearby town of Brightwater. Around 1850 a flour mill was built near the winery site. The mill owner used to sing a song incorporating the refrain “Bright water, bright water, bright water for me” when working. Eventually the name Brightwater became associated with the flourmill and was extended to the nearby settlement.
As an historical aside, the mill was later converted into a hydro-electric power station, the second in New Zealand. Five street lights were installed in Brightwater and ten in Richmond, some 10 kilometers distant. The lighting was switched on and off by the ingenious device of wiring the control switch to a chicken perch. In the evenings the switch was activated as the chickens went to roost; the lights were turned off in the mornings when they vacated the perch!
We have four permanent staff who between them tend our three vineyards and the winery.
In May 2017 we welcomed Laurie Stradling as our viticulturalist. Laurie is a recent Lincoln University Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology Graduate. He has 6 years of winegrowing experience in the Nelson region as well as a keen interest in, and knowledge of organic and biodynamic practices. Laurie is a local to this region and has recently made it his home again after many years away studying and travelling abroad.
Shayne Cox has been our winemaker since September 2015. Shayne is highly experienced having completed 30 vintages within New Zealand and Europe, and has managed his own successful wine consultancy business. June Hamilton, co-owner, is responsible for sales and marketing. Please refer to the Contacts page for further details.