Man O War is a family owned wine estate situated in the rugged hills of Waiheke Island off the coast of Aukland in the Hauraki Gulf. The island, itself, is rich in history; Captain James Cook anchored there during his first voyage around New Zealand in 1769 and taking note of the magnificent stands of Kauri trees, wrote in the his journals that they would make ideal masts for the Man O War warships for the Royal Navy. The Man O War estate is 4,500 acres or roughly a fifth of the total island. The estate has been in the hands of the current owner for over thirty years and has been run primarily as a sheep and cattle ranch. However, beginning in 1993, the owner planted vineyards convinced that the island's steeper hillsides with their iron rich clay soil were ideally suited for growing Syrah and Bordeaux varietals. Today the Man O War vineyards consist of 150 acres in some 90 individual hillside blocks planted with a mix of varietals each suited to their topography, soil profile and microclimate. The selection of these blocks took well over 10 years and involved extensive research (soil mapping, weather data collection and the planting of experimental sites to assess the wine growing potential of each area. Whites are situated on the higher cooler volcanic hilltops and the reds on the best drained clay soils of the lower slopes. Winemaking is in the hands of veteran winemaker Duncan McTavish, formerly with Pegasus Bay in the Waipara. The wines are produced under two labels. The white label offers fresh and fruit forward wines and the black label series of wines of greater complexity and aging potential.