BANKS PENINSULA, mistakenly identified and named by Captain James Cook in 1770, as BANKS ISLAND, after Joseph Banks the “Endeavour’s” botanist.

Banks Peninsula is made up of two breached volcanic cones, giving rise to the Akaroa and Lyttelton harbours. Lyttelton harbour and the Whistling Buoy winery sit within one of these volcanic cones.

As a wine area Banks Peninsula, goes back to the initial colonisation of New Zealand by Europeans - French immigrants who landed in 1840 at the Akaroa settlement on Banks Peninsula carried vine cuttings, from which wine soon flowed for domestic consumption.

Romeo Bragato, the Australian viticulturist on loan to the NZ Government to determine the prospects for a NZ wine industry in 1895, confirmed Akaroa’s suitability for viticulture and the high prospects for winemaking.

However it wasn’t until much later in the 1970’s, when work conducted at Lincoln University, breathed new life into the possibility. The first commercial winery was established in 1978 (St Helena Estate), quickly winning a reputation for its Pinot Noir.

Click on map to enlarge view | Map source: Alexander Turnbull Library





All our premium single vineyard wines are labelled “WHISTLING BUOY” after the marker Buoy between Adderley and Godley Heads which was used to aid navigation into the Port of Lyttelton.