Our Story

Each bottle of Rapaura Springs tells a story of a lifetime in Marlborough — of water and wine, and working with nature.

A lot of people say great winemaking begins in the vineyard, but for us it begins far earlier, high in the Southern Alps. It takes months for the pure water from these snow-capped mountains to filter through braided rivers and underground aquifers to make its way to our Rapaura Springs home vineyard, and for our vines to grow and bear fruit for harvest. That full cycle of nature defines our lives and shapes the way we live.

These are wines made by family and friends, and imbued with our resilience and realised dreams. They carry the story of bettering our best and breaking boundaries. Of discovering new things and savouring the moment. Of sunrises and sunsets, interspersed by days full of fun and full of hard work. We appreciate what we’ve got and constantly redefine what we’ve got to give.

Year on year, we share new perspectives from our home in Marlborough, protecting our water and land, and growing wines that help define Marlborough.

The Neylon family have a long, proud association with premium exports from the Marlborough region, having helped pioneer the green lip mussel industry. They were the first family to grow, process and export this premium product in the early eighties. In 1985 they purchased prime vineyard land in the Rapaura and Dillons Point sub-regions, starting a business partnership with the Wiffin family, first growing orchard fruits, and then establishing a grapevine nursery to supply their vineyards and others in the region.

Neylon History

1862 Richard and Mary Neylon sent two of their daughters to New Zealand (Margaret 20 and Mary 13 years) from Ireland on the 642 ton vessel “Sevilla”. The journey took three months.

1867 Richard and Mary arrived in Dunedin (South Island / Southern NZ) aboard the goods ship “Silistria” with their remaining children.

1883 Family moved to Nightcaps, in Southland, where they began prospecting for coal, gold and continue to farm the land today.

1948 John Neylon born and raised in Nightcaps. He is the son of a retired coal miner, James Francis (Battler) Neylon. James Neylon, also the son of a retired coal miner, was educated at Wreys Bush and St Kevin’s College, Oamaru. James was the cross country champion and captain of the first 15, and was offered a scholarship to return as the captain of the rugby team. He returned to Nightcaps to be a coal miner and supplement his income as the local bookie.

1950 Margaret Neylon born in Nightcaps.

Neylon family, Marlborough timeline

1978 Established green shell mussel farms in the Marlborough Sounds. (1975, the first Sauvignon Blanc vine planted in Marlborough – Montana Wines).

1979 Family moved to Marlborough.

1982 Started building the mussel factory.

1983 Completed the build of the mussel factory and started processing. The first vertically integrated business in the mussel industry growing, processing and marketing mussels.

1985 Purchased the Springs property in Rapaura and planted an apple orchard.

1986 Purchased a Dillon’s Point property (now The Bull Paddock Vineyard) and planted apples (1986, First International award for a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – Hunters Wines).

1990 Started an engineering workshop. Designed and manufactured stainless steel mussel processing equipment sold in NZ, Australia and Chile. Serviced the wine industry, building wine tanks and equipment.

1994 Purchased Spring Creek property to build a packing operation to export apples and pears.

1999 Started Winery consent process.

Rapaura Springs timeline

1999 Established a grapevine nursery to propagate grape vines. Partnership between Neylon and Wiffin families established.

2003 Purchased the Riverside property and developed our first vineyard. Supplied Oyster Bay.

2005 Established 12,000 tonne winery.

2005 Orchards converted to vineyards.

2007 Rapaura Springs first vintage.

2015 Awarded Sauvignon Blanc Trophy and NZ Wine Producer of the year IWSC.

2015 Awarded Champion Open White Wine Trophy, Air NZ Wine Awards.

2017 $3 million winery wash down water treatment investment, 100% winery wash down water recycled.

2018 Blind River vineyard purchased for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay development.