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About Us

Est. 1864

Our Story

The odyssey of a French fortune-seeker

In the early 1860s, a young and intrepid Frenchman by the name of Jean Désiré Féraud, left his homeland to chase the promise of gold on the other side of the world. Fortuitous in his pursuit of wealth during Central Otago’s gold rush, he embarked on a quest for an ideal location to establish roots and set up his homestead.

Settling in the Alexandra Basin of Central Otago, Féraud knew he was sitting on property with enormous prospects and became driven by a dream to create a flourishing oasis of fruit. He went to work, unlocking the potential of the land’s soil and its arid climate, and by 1864, through unyielding determination, Féraud’s Monte Christo was established. Unwittingly, Féraud had begun laying the foundations for Central Otago to blossom into the esteemed wine region it is today.

A Serendipitous Encounter with Monte Christo

150 years later, a young man named Nicholas Paris was visiting Central Otago from the United States for a family reunion. 

A Master of Wine, Nicholas was keen to see Monte Christo, a historical winery he’d read about in his studies. He and his father Stanley, who grew up in Central Otago, set off in search of the estate, without success.

Refusing to give up, Stanley Paris would eventually discover that the Monte Christo property was in the stewardship of his second cousin, and amazingly, the original stone winery was still standing.

This incredible twist of destiny put the Paris family on a life-changing path to rejuvenate Monte Christo, honouring Féraud’s legacy as ambassadors of Central Otago’s
remarkable wine region.

History & Heritage

1820

1820

Jean Désiré Féraud was born on 13th December, 1820 in Vence, a small town in Provence, France.

As a young adult, he relocated to Antibes, where he began producing 'cordials’ which, at that time, were alcoholic liqueurs primarily used for medicinal purposes.

In the 1850’s, Féraud moved to Ballarat, Australia, near the Bendigo gold fields, where he owned a bakery and continued making cordials.

1863

1863

Féraud arrived in Central Otago during the gold rush.

He quickly established himself as a businessman with a stake in a very successful gold claim at what is now known as Frenchman’s Point near Alexandra, and was a shareholder in a few other local gold mines.

1864

1864

Féraud established “Monte Christo” near the township of Clyde in the Alexandra basin.

Here, he built a home, and alongside neighbouring Frenchman, James Bladier, planted a range of fruit trees, vegetables, berries and grapevines imported from Australia. These early plantings were the first vineyards in Central Otago.

Féraud was also the first in Central Otago to use irrigation for horticulture at his farm and vineyard at Monte Christo.

1865

1865

As early as 1865, Féraud positioned himself as a cordial manufacturer, wine and spirits provisioner and brewer.

In addition to Monte Christo, he also owned the Dunstan Brewery and Shamrock Store in Clyde.

1866

1866

Féraud was heavily involved in the local community, and in 1866 he was elected the
first Mayor of Clyde township.

He was named a Justice of the Peace in 1867 and was a member of the local Hospital Board.

1870's

1870's

By 1867, he had around 200 grapevines prospering at Monte Christo, and in the early 1870's harvest yields were estimated to be around 2 tonnes.

The original winery was destroyed in a storm in 1871, and Féraud constructed a new winery out of schist in 1872.

This stone building, which serves as our Cellar Door today, is considered the oldest winery in Central Otago and the South Island of New Zealand.

1871 - 1872

1871 - 1872

Early Wine Reviews

Top: Evening Star, issue 2963, 17 August 1872, page 2

Bottom: Tuapeka Times, Vol 3, Issue 189, 21 September 1871

1875

1875

As of 1875, Féraud was regularly advertising his popular wine, cordials and syrups.

1879

1879

Between 1879 – 1881 Féraud submitted his wines to various exhibitions, earning the region’s first gold medals for wine in Sydney and Dunedin.
He also received awards for his liqueurs, cordials and ginger wine in Melbourne.

1995

1995

Modern Day

The Central Otago Winemakers Association unveiled a bronze plaque in honour of Féraud's legacy. It hangs today on the exterior of the stone building.

For over 150 years, generations have enjoyed the rewards of Féraud's innovative foresight, which laid the foundation for irrigation, orchard cultivation, viticulture, and winemaking within the region.

2012

2012

During a family reunion in Queenstown, Stanley Paris and his son Nicholas, who had heard of the historic Monte Christo Winery, searched the Alexandra Basin to find the building, but to no avail. In a twist of fate, Stanley later discovered the property was in the stewardship of his second cousins.

2018

2018

A new era begins.

After discovering the original stone winery existed on their relatives' land, Stanley and Catherine Paris along with Stanley’s sons, Alan Paris, and Nicholas Paris, MW, agreed the time was right to resurrect Monte Christo Winery.

2023

2023

The original stone winery building has been lovingly refurbished by the Paris family
who have consulted closely with Heritage New Zealand throughout the restoration.

This heritage building is a memorial to Féraud’s pioneering spirit and is a testimony to his vision of Central Otago as a premium wine making region.

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THE FAMILY

Stanley & Catherine Paris

Proprietors

Nicholas Paris, MW

Director

Alan Paris

Director

OUR PEOPLE

Karl Coombes

Winemaker

Sam Woods

Viticulturist

Ryann Calder

Dir. of Marketing & Consumer Sales

Phillip Stuart

Hospitality Operations Manager

Kiki O’Rourke

Sr. Cellar Door Manager

Sam Farr

Head Chef

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