Croatian immigrant Ivan Yukich planted his first grape vines in West Auckland in 1934.
His sons Mate and Frank established Montana Wines in 1961, a company destined to become New Zealand’s largest wine producer with a high reputation across the world.
Montana developed New Zealand’s largest single vineyard on this property in 1967 with nearly 150 hectares (375 acres) covered in rows of vines, with Palomino grapes the dominant variety. The operation with a permanent staff of 30 local people was managed by Hedley Sunde
In 1971 they introduced the first mechanical harvester in New Zealand, a development that revolutionized the economics of large scale grape production. Until then up to 200 pickers would be required to harvest the grapes during a very short picking season.
All fruit from the vineyard was trucked to Auckland or Gisborne for processing and bottling.
Early in the 1980’s Montana moved the core of their operations to Marlborough. Government incentives to rationalize grape production, new varieties and the arrival of the root disease phylloxera combined to make the Mangatangi operation uneconomic.