I was lucky enough recently to be invited to glam Auckland restaurant Clooney to attend a tasting of media maestro Leighton Smith’s wine. I was very, very impressed. Especially with the Arneis and the Merlot Barbera. Italian style wine, grown right here in enzed. Clink!

Newstalk ZB’s Leighton Smith’s Clevedon Hills Estate covers 40 acres on the southern slopes of the Clevedon Valley, south of Auckland, facing north west.

Clevedon Hills Estate is situated in a micro-climate that traps the heat, between hills to the east and native bush to the west.

The first vines were planted in August 1998. While nine varieties found their way into forty rows, some were purely on an experimental basis. 

They now produce grape varieties that find their way in the following wines:

The Pinot Noir is a bit of a surprise, as somehow by accident a number of Pinot Noir vines found their way into the vineyard and they were doing surprisingly well.  Despite receiving advice to ignore them, they decided to plant more Pinot Noir and in 2006 the first grapes were harvested.

The resulting wine, only 50 cases of it, came out very well and those who have tried it are raving about it.

Clevedon Hills is not so much a dream as a vision that took many years to eventuate. They share their love for Italian style wines with neighbouring Vin Alto, the wines are made by Leighton’s good friend Enzo Bettio.


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