Babich Wines Tells 100 Years of Stories


Babich Wines, one of New Zealand’s oldest and most respected family-owned wine brands, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

To mark the milestone, the Babich family has dusted off the archives and is sharing 100 never-before-heard stories from its history. 26 stories were posted on before Christmas. 30 more stories will be added soon. The remainder will be added throughout the year.

“We are throwing the doors open and sharing the most intimate parts of our history,” says Babich Wines Managing Director and second-generation winemaker Joe Babich. “These stories touch on every emotion. A few will have you laughing out loud, some give an interesting glimpse at what winemaking was like in New Zealand in the 1900s, and others are simply hard to believe!

“They really demonstrate that deep personal connection we have had with the vines, the land and the wine since that first bottle was produced by my father, Josip Babich, in 1916 – when he was just 20 years old.”

Along with the 100 family stories, the birthday is being celebrated in a number of other ways, including:

Creation of the most exclusive wine in the brand’s history. Babich has unveiled a centennial Cabernet Sauvignon, the most exclusive wine in its history, using a small parcel of grapes from its 2013 Hawke’s Bay Gimblett Gravels harvest. Only 100 magnums and 330 bottles of special edition wine are available, retailing at $399 NZD (for 750ml) and $999 (for 1500ml).
Historic Babich Wines book launch. A full-colour tribute book, titled The Next Vintage, has been released. It traces Josip’s journey and the 100 years since 1916, when he made his first wine from his own grapes, to the large West Auckland family winery that is now a well-known international brand. This can be purchased online from a number of New Zealand bookstores.
A modern new cellar door. The Babich Wines cellar door – at the family’s very first vineyard in West Auckland – will be given a complete makeover this year, and is expected to be very popular with tourism operators and media. The launch date will be announced later on in the year.
A number of other events and initiatives will also take place over the coming months, including a social media campaign, with competitions for global fans; an international food and wine bloggers challenge; a celebratory event in Auckland; in-store promotional material, and more.

Peter and Joe Babich are looking forward to getting fans and customers around the world involved in the 100-year anniversary.

“Our family’s story is one of passion, grit and hard work; caring for the earth and the vines; and at the end of the day, creating wines that represent excellence through experience,” explains Joe. “We’re excited to celebrate that and to share our success with wine lovers both here in New Zealand and around the world.”

Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, agrees that the centenary is an important milestone, not just for Babich but also for the New Zealand wine industry as a whole.

‘Babich Wines and generations of the Babich family are exemplars of all that has made New Zealand wine such an inspiring international success story,” says Philip. “From humble beginnings, with hard work, with enormous dedication and with great vision they have built a highly successful wine business. Their individual enterprise has always been coupled with unwavering service to the wider New Zealand wine industry, for which they are applauded and recognised by their peers.’


Jennifer Boyes, Salt & Pepper PR
Phone: +64 21 667 873

Nicole Lees, Babich Wines Marketing Manager


About Babich Wines:

Babich Wines was founded in 1916 when Josip Babich made his first New Zealand wine, selling it in cask and bottle under the name Babich Brothers. However, the story started long before that first wine was bottled. In 1910, fourteen-year-old Josip emigrated with his 17 year old brother from Croatia to New Zealand to join three brothers, who were earning a living digging and selling kauri gum in New Zealand’s far north. In 1912 Josip planted his first vineyard on the terraces above the Kaikino Swamp gum field, and a few years later the first bottle of Babich Wines was created. In 1919 the Babich brothers moved to a new site in Henderson Valley, West Auckland (a property they had put a deposit on in 1911). This site became the family homestead and company headquarters (still in operation today).

Since then, Babich Wines has become an internationally awarded and respected brand. Josip’s legacy continues to guide the family company today.  “A love of wine and family. A vision for the future and to produce nothing but excellence. To share and to enjoy – but these gains can only come from honest hard work, a care for the land and a care for the people.  These are the things, we at Babich Wines, will never lose sight of”.

For more information, visit

Share This Page / Post