25 July 2017
A new era for Toi Toi
Kevin and Sara Joyce and family have purchased the remaining shares in Marlborough Wine Ltd, making them 100% owners of the company that owns the Toi Toi wine brand.
Kevin says “this is a very exciting time for our family as we look to invest further in the company and propel it into its next phase of growth in the USA and Europe. All our family, Adam, his wife Samantha, Richard and Adele, will be involved in the business as we move forward.”
The Toi Toi wine brand was established in 2006 by two New Zealand couples, Kevin and Sara Joyce and Andrew and Julie Bonner. Over the past 10 years Toi Toi has grown into one of NZ’s top 25 wineries and has become recognised globally for its Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Central Otago Pinot Noir. It has found favour with wine lovers throughout New Zealand, Australia, Asia, the United States and most recently Canada. Toi Toi Wine has developed a reputation for innovation. It was the first winery to produce a Sparkling Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and a Sparkling Rosé. Recently it released a “pink” Sauvignon Blanc Rosé, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Sara says “we wanted Toi Toi to remain family-owned to ensure our previous dedication to exceptional wine quality was retained. Nothing will change in a practical sense, because our winemaking philosophy is still one of terroir – the best vineyards in the best New Zealand grape regions – we only make Pinot Noir from our Central Otago Clutha Vineyard, our Chardonnay from our Brunton Road, Gisborne vineyard and Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris from our Marlborough Brookdale Vineyard.”
The Brookdale Vineyard in Marlborough’s Omaka Valley first introduced the Joyce’s into the wine business. Kevin visited Marlborough and was surprised at how quickly it had changed in a few dramatic years, with neat rows of green grapes everywhere. “My memory of Marlborough was windy and very dusty – with dirty sheep - and the Wither Hills which were always on fire!” says Kevin.
“It was a place you always passed through very quickly. However, with the change in landscape I wanted to stay and decided to investigate the wine business. I ended up buying 28ha of bare land in the Omaka Valley with some investors. While we were planting out the vineyard I was approached to work for another wine company and ended up commuting up and down from Auckland for 18 months! I was bitten by the wine bug! Once the vineyard started producing I met Andrew Bonner and we established Marlborough Wine Limited and created the Toi Toi brand with our first Sauvignon vintage in 2007. This year Toi Toi Wines celebrates its 10 year birthday and we can be very proud of what we have achieved.”
Kevin says it’s difficult to say goodbye to Andrew and Julie Bonner, who have decided to slow down and change their lifestyle. “Toi Toi’s success would not have been possible without them. Their focus and dedication has helped grow Toi Toi into one of New Zealand’s top wineries. Sara and I wish them all the best for the future”.
Marlborough Wine Ltd is an export focused company with 83% of its sales from overseas. It is a top 5 New Zealand family Sauvignon Blanc brand in Australia and Kevin and Sara plan to grow the export market. Kevin believes there are good opportunities in the USA, where they are planning to appoint more state distributors and in Europe where they are building a foothold.
The change of ownership corresponds with the appointment of Tim Adams as head of viticulture and winemaking. Tim was recently with Astrolabe wines and has taken over the reins from Chris Young, who has retired from winemaking after 27 years in the industry. Kevin and Sara also wish all the the best to Chris in his retirement.