Jill & Dayne
Dayne and Jill Sherwood are the founders and owners of Sherwood Estate Wines. They started the company in 1987 when not many people in New Zealand fully understood the wine industry, including them.
TOGETHER THEY HAVE BUILT THE COMPANY FROM A SMALL 20 ACRE BLOCK IN NORTH CANTERBURY TO ONE OF NEW ZEALAND’S LARGEST FAMILY OWNED AND INDEPENDENT WINERIES.
Dayne brings the winemaking skill and entrepreneurial drive to the partnership while Jill looks after the purse strings and manages the administrative side of the business. Together they manage and oversee all aspects of the business right from planting the grapes through to ensuring our customers receive their wine.
Dayne’s love of wine began at the university wine club. Alcohol choices were limited in New Zealand in the mid-80s and the wine club opened Dayne’s eyes to the wider potential of the drink. Here he had the opportunity to try many different styles of wine from around the world and this has helped shaped his curiosity. Even today he is constantly looking at the latest innovations in wine technology and the developing trends and styles in this global industry.
Jill heralds from rural New Zealand, growing up on a farm in Central Canterbury. She moved to the big smoke of the city to work for a bank, where she met Dayne. It didn’t take long for Dayne to pass on his enthusiasm for wine. Being young and headstrong the young couple decided not to spend their lives working hard for someone else when they could work hard for their own dream. In 1987 they took the radical decision to take their future into their own hands and set up Sherwood Estate Wines.
THE NEW ZEALAND WINE INDUSTRY WAS STARTING TO FLOURISH; MORE NEW ZEALANDER’S WERE DRINKING WINE AND THE FUTURE LOOKED ROSY.
Then a surplus of wine hit the market, demand dropped and prices crashed. Some of our biggest wineries of the day were forced to close and others were merged into large corporations. The government even started paying growers to pull up their vineyards.
Not to be deterred, Jill and Dayne persevered and even started to plant more vines, including the little-known and even less-understood Pinot Noir. Needless to say, a few people thought the Canterbury sun had gone to their heads and they’d gone mad.
Dayne believed in the potential of New Zealand’s climate and soils to produce Pinot Noir that would challenge the world’s best. Never ones to shy at a challenge they soon became known for producing some pretty epic wines, both at home and internationally.
SOON THEIR VINEYARDS AND WINERY IN WEST MELTON HAD REACHED CAPACITY. WITH NO OPTION TO EXPAND THEIR CURRENT SITE BUT STILL DETERMINED TO GROW THEIR COMPANY, JILL AND DAYNE MOVED SHERWOOD ESTATE TO THE WAIPARA VALLEY
We’ve been here for nearly 20 years and expanded our vineyard footprint further to include 3 vineyards at different sites throughout the valley. Our custom-built winery and warehouse, which seemed huge when first built, are now bursting at the seams. Our team has grown considerably and we are proud to have Petter Evans as our Chief Winemaker, someone who has been fanatical about wine since he was a teenager.
Today you will still find Jill and Dayne at the winery every day, overseeing every part of our production and discussing the latest wines. Dayne can often be found in the vineyards, checking the vines and discussing the state of play with the vineyard team. Jill is most often in the office managing the administrative side of everything. They both travel regularly visiting our import and distribution partners across the globe as well as meeting with our sales team and visiting customers within NZ. It’s this personal attention to our product and our customers that we believe sets us apart.
Outside of the office, Dayne can usually be found whipping up some culinary masterpiece or on the ride-on mower cutting the grass outside the winery. Jill stays busy playing tennis, pottering in the garden, or walking the hills of Waipara Valley but admits her favourite pastime would be lying in a hammock. Whilst successfully building a business they have also raised two sons, the younger of whom has recently followed in Dayne’s footsteps and completed his degree in Viticulture and Oenology.
Jill and Dayne have continued to thrive in this business because of their unwavering love for what they do and the wine we make. Their enjoyment of wine is the reason we are all here and if we are able to share just a part of that passion and love with our customers we have done our job.