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Our story

David Bishell immigrated to New Zealand in 1876 with his wife Mary and four young children in search of a better life.

In 1880 he purchased 50 hectares of farmland west of Blenheim and named it Caythorpe after his home village in Lincolnshire, England. The land was unproductive and covered in flax, but David saw the potential and set about clearing the property, allowing him to grow food crops and establish the first chapter of the rich history that is Caythorpe Family Estate.

Five generations later and still 100% family owned, Caythorpe represents the very best of Marlborough. It is still a working farm but with diversification into horticulture and winemaking, we strive to continue our commitment to innovative and sustainable production processes, while producing a range of super-premium products.

1849

David Bishell born, Caythorpe, Lincolnshire, England.

1876

1876

David & Mary Bishell immigrate to Marlborough, New Zealand.

1880

David purchases 50ha of farmland west of Blenheim township. Names it Caythorpe as a reminder of his home village in England.

1882

David becomes the first farmer in NZ to grow red clover for seed.

1883

David successfully grows and harvests the first cereal crops on Caythorpe.

1891

First Lincoln ewes purchased and formed the basis of Lincoln sheep stud. This image of David features on our wine labels.

1914

David served as a member on the Wairau Hospital Board (sitting, second from right).

1926

Caythorpe Lincoln ewes exported to South Africa

1926

Caythorpe awarded "Best Worked Farm in Province" by Marlborough A&P Association.

1941

Caythorpe Homestead built.

1943

80ha of neighbouring property purchased - brings Caythorpe to current farm size of 190ha.

1951

Walter Bishell (2nd generation) selected to be a member of a NZ Bowlers Tour to Britain.

1958

Exported Caythorpe Lincoln ram bred by Wally named Champion at Royal English Show.

1972

Mervyn Bishell (3rd generation) is approached by out of town businessmen and an offer is made to sell Caythorpe – he declines. The businessmen purchase neighbouring property and it becomes one of the first parcels of land in Marlborough to be planted in vines by Montana (now Brancott Estate).

1973

Murray Bishell (4th generation) becomes one of the first in the district to use irrigation on process vegetable crops.

1984

Following in the footsteps of his great grandfather, Murray grows a record crop of red clover seed (Scott and Simon - 5th generation).

1985

Murray purchases the first axial-flow combine in Marlborough and continues the tradition of innovation at Caythorpe.

1986

The challenging economic climate brings about diversification to the traditional farming business - cherry orchard is planted.

1987

Murray and Diana establish the first vineyard on Caythorpe. They plant eight hectares of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc vines (Scott, Simon and Diana).

1988

NZ Ploughing Championships are held at Caythorpe Murray achieves the rare feat of competing in a national championship held on his own property.

1995

A record crop of cherries are grown and exported to Japan.

1996

The growing success of the wine industry proves a catalyst behind vineyard expansion at Caythorpe. Over the following 10 years vineyard area is increased to also include Chardonnay and Riesling.

2008

Simon wins NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year.

2011

Area under cherry production is increased by 25%.

2015

First vintage of Caythorpe Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc.

2017

Caythorpe Family Estate 2016 Sauvignon Blanc wins GOLD at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.