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 label.
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.