Matua Co-Founder, Ambassador, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Pioneer and Rugby Nut Bill Spence

Bill Spence, Co-founder & Brand Ambassador

You could say Bill was born to start a winery, it’s in his blood. His grandfather made wine in Auckland in 1918 and his father operated his own winery as well. Bill and his older brother Ross grew up on the family vineyard in West Auckland preparing for their own future.

Bill and his older brother Ross shared a vision to revolutionise the New Zealand wine industry, so after the brothers studied viticulture and winemaking, they were itching to put modern winemaking techniques into practice.

Come 1966, they struck out on their own and bought some land with help from their grandmother and mother. By 1974, they produced their first vintage of Sauvignon Blanc and Matua was born.

With his gift of the gab, Bill took the lead on viticulture, marketing and exports while Ross focused on the winemaking. Bill’s infectious personality and enthusiasm drove Matua’s early sales. In 1990 he became founding Chairman of the NZ Wine Export Guild where he stayed for three years, spreading the word about Kiwi wine and Matua.

Both Bill and Ross loved giving new things a go – and they were good at it too. They even made a traditional Portuguese style Port, which won gold medals year after year. Their drive to create wine that people would really enjoy combined with their experimental dabbling made sure awards for Matua kept on coming.

Bill Spence Right Aligned

A likeable rogue of the industry, these days Bill is still very much a part of Matua. When he’s not globetrotting as Matua’s Brand Ambassador, talking wine or taking the mickey, you’ll find Bill making his own prosciutto and wicked chili sauce or catching up on the Rugby.

He changes his mind a lot, but Pinot Noir is Bill’s favourite drop at the moment – especially from Central Otago. He loves its multi-dimensional character and the precision it requires in the vineyard.