Once upon a time, there were only two vineyards in Kerikeri until in 2001 Bruce and Suzie Soland saw an opportunity to develop an old orchard-block into a boutique vineyard. Bruce had worked in the vineyards in West Auckland in the 70s and Suzie loved wine, so they rounded up a bunch of family and friends, hand-planted 3,000 vines and launched The Fat Pig Vineyard.
The vineyard was a success. The vines produced excellent grapes, wine was made, awards were won, and vintages sold out. Loved by locals and visitors for the great wines, vineyard parties, and Brucie’s off-the-wall humour, the Fat Pig Vineyard was home to Bruce and Suzie for 12 years.
Bruce’s reputation as a grape-master spread. He was offered a job that seemed too good to refuse; chief viticulturist and vineyard manager at one of Northland’s big bucks vineyards. He accepted the challenge to revive their vines and produced three great vintages for them before the desire to return to the home vineyard won.
In 2018 Sue’s daughter Andrea (Andy) James traded her beloved Jeep and the sands of Oman for the mighty Fiat tractor and the vines of home.
Soland & James is a family vineyard, where Bruce and Andrea tend the vines by hand to produce fantastic Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rose and Syrah.
Stop by the cellar door for a taste and a chat.