Brent Marris grew up on some of the very first vineyards in Marlborough, planted by his father. As a young winemaker, he was responsible for the development of two major New Zealand wine brands – Oyster Bay and Wither Hills.
Tapping into this deep well of knowledge, Brent selected a number of outstanding local sites as base for a venture to create his own family legacy – Marisco Vineyards. These vineyards now produce world renowned brands such as The Ned and The Kings Series, as well as targeted niche brands such as The Craft Series.
Driven by a love of viticulture and winemaking instilled in his teens, Brent was the first local Marlborough lad to become a qualified winemaker.
In 1994, after helping Delegats establish the Oyster Bay brand, he founded Wither Hills with his father, pioneering Marlborough viticulturist John Marris. Eight years later, the brand had grown dramatically and was sold to to multi-national beverage company Lion Nathan. Brent continued as managing director and chief winemaker until 2007.
Marisco Vineyards was conceived in 2003, when Brent began his search for a special vineyard property to provide a base for his next venture. This time, the aim was to establish a family legacy that last for generations.
With the vast knowledge he built up as a youngster exploring the local area and what he had learned later as a Marlborough viticulturist and winemaker, Brent found an exceptional 268 hectare property on the banks of the Waihopai River. Here he planted the varieties that has won Marlborough fame the world over: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.
Using fruit from these vineyards, The Ned brand was launched in 2006. Named after one of the tallest peaks to the southeast of the vineyard that he used to climb as a kid, The Ned is a deeply personal project for Brent.
In 2009, work started on a winery that was both aesthetically elegant and extremely functional, designed using innovations and technologies adapted from other industries where necessary.
In the same year, The Kings Series range was launched. With this launch, it was decided to give the business a name that could be used across different wine brands. Brent researched his family tree and found that his name derived from William de Marisco, a descendant of King Henry I. He promptly resurrected the original family name for the business – Marisco Vineyards.
In New Zealand, Marisco Vineyards wines are distributed by Lion Nathan. However, more than 80% of our wine is exported. Our first offshore sales were made in Australia in 2010. Marisco Vineyards moved into the USA, Canada and China in 2011, and we have since built relationships in Norway and Sweden.
Only five years after releasing its first wine, Marisco Vineyards was crowned New Zealand Winery of the Year at the 2011 International Wine & Spirits Challenge.
Since winning that prestigious accolade, Marisco Vineyards has continued to grow our vineyard resource, our winemaking expertise, our wine brands and our distribution.