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S Y C Vineyard

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S Y C Vineyards - Thames. First Chinese commercial vineyard, started in the 1950s.

In common with a few other producers of traditional fortified wines, Totara was left reeling by the introduction in 2003 of a tax imposed on ports and sherries with the declared intention of discouraging teenage drinkers. “We lost 60 percent of our customers,” says winemaker Gilbert Chan, who notes that all his regulars were middle-aged or elderly.

The business was rescued by the fact that it also produces a popular range of liqueurs – such as Totara Café and Totara Kiwifruit Liqueur – that weren’t affected by the impost.

Totara was established in Thames more than half a century ago under the name SYC Wines (after the initials of Gilbert’s father, Stanley Young Chan, who had once owned a fruit shop in Auckland and was widely known around the markets by those initials). Though primarily devoted to the production of fortified wines and liqueurs, Totara also produces a range of table wines that includes Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and a fruity, off-dry blend of Müller-Thurgau and Muscat.



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S Y C Vineyard

Categories:Business & Occupations, Other, and Food & Drink