Frenchman’s Hill is owned by Luc and Anna Desbonnets. In 1989 Luc travelled to France staying 7 years to learn the culture and complete a degree in winemaking and viticulture in the Medoc appellation area of Bordeaux.
Returning to New Zealand in 2000, in 2005 Luc acquired “the perfect red wine site…” on Waiheke Island, now known as Frenchmans Hill Estate. In 2006 he planted the vineyard upon its steep northern facing slopes. The impoverished sandy/gravelly clays of Waiheke are ideal viticultural soils to work with and are superbly suited to the production of truly cellar-worthy complex reds that will evolve favourably over time.
Luc steadfastly follows the techniques learnt whilst working in the 'grand cru' appellations of Bordeaux and Burgundy. He believes with the right sites and an uncompromising approach toward yields, vine and soil management, New Zealand matches it with many of the world's greatest wines.
The 8 Vineyard was named primarily after the eight varieties planted upon it - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Tannat, Viognier and Kolor. The figure 8 is also represents the continuous annual cycle of the vines and the vineyard is set up with the number 8 as its guide - 8 vines between each post, 8 rows under each net, 8 vats made from each vintage…..a little superstition from the winemaker whose key focus is terroir.