Saint Clair Our Story

The Saint Clair Story

Saint Clair Family Estate is owned by Neal and Judy Ibbotson

Neal and Judy have been viticulture pioneers in Marlborough since 1978. The grapes from their vineyard were originally supplied to local wine companies, however they wanted to showcase the quality they had achieved in their vineyards through to the finished wine as well. This desire is what led to the establishment of Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994.

The property where this vineyard is located was first settled by the Sinclair family. Pioneer James Sinclair built one of the first homes in Blenheim, and was closely associated with the early development of the town. Over time, the name of the property reverted back to the original Saint Clair, which is where the Saint Clair name originated from.

Our mission is to create world-class wines that exceed our customers’ every expectation. Neal combines his extensive viticultural expertise, the unique mix of Marlborough’s climate and soils, and the talent of one of New Zealand’s leading winemaking teams to achieve this mission.

Family Estate - The Ibbotson Family

Saint Clair Family Estate was founded by Neal and Judy Ibbotson who are the directors of the winery with more than 30 years viticulture knowledge of the Marlborough region. The company is a family business with the next generation also involved.

Son Tony is responsible for the design of all Saint Clair’s packaging, promotional material and advertising. He owns a design consultancy business, the Creative Method, in Sydney. Tony designed the original Saint Clair labels back in 1994, when he was a student. He has been refining and expanding the range of Saint Clair labels ever since.

Daughters Sarina and Julie both work within the business in sales and marketing after studying wine business marketing at Adelaide.

Saint Clair Family Estate have a Great Emphasis on Viticulture

With quality as a company value it is essential that the very best fruit is sourced and utilised to make the best wine possible, and hence adhere to a core company value.

Neal and Judy Ibbotson are viticulture pioneers within Marlborough. Judy planted the first vineyard in 1978 (with three pre-schoolers and a group of ladies) which was one of the first vineyards within the Marlborough region.

Over the last 30 years Neal and Judy have both developed a great deal of viticulture knowledge themselves and hence recognise the true importance of the understanding of viticulture to the final product.

Jarrah Prior is Saint Clair’s head viticulturist. He comes with a wealth of experience both within winemaking and viticulture. Saint Clair Family Estate utilise a mixture of fruit from contract growers combined with fruit from estate grown vineyards.

Jarrah communicates Saint Clair’s values and shares his viticulture expertise with the contract growers. With an added incentive to growers who provide exceptional quality fruit, grape growers will continue to strive for excellence.

Award Winning from the First Vintage

From 1994 when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. Recent significant international accolades include:

• Most Successful Winery of the Competition - Sydney International Wine Competition 2020, 2015 and 2012
• New World Producer of the Year - UK’s Sommelier Wine Awards 2017 and 2012
• New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year - Vienna International Wine Challenge 2018, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012
• New Zealand Winery of the Year - Winestate NZ/Australia 2017, 2014, 2011 and 2010
• New Zealand Winemaker of the Year - Hamish Clark
• Winestate NZ/Australia - 2019, 2017, 2014 and 2012
Ranked in the top 100 wineries of the world - WAWWJ 2017
Listed in the Top 10 Chardonnays of the World - Chardonnay du Monde for the Saint Clair Pioneer Block 11 Cell Block Chardonnay 2014.

Saint Clair Family Estate has developed a strong reputation as a leading international wine producer. Consistently achieving highly acclaimed awards such as these further cements this reputation.

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