Originally from Lumbarda, Korcula, Croatia, Ivan Markovina Sr. brought his wife and first child to New Zealand. Settling in Whangarei, the Markovinas owned and operated the Marsden Café before moving to Auckland in 1966. On discovering a serene piece of paradise in Kumeu, Ivan Markovina Sr. began planning the family’s future as vineyard owners and winemakers.
Planting grapevines was solely in the hands of Ivan Sr. who worked tirelessly to set the property up as a vineyard. He already understood the need for variety so planted a selection of grapevines including some from Croatia such as Grk. With a vision to sustain the estate as a family-run business, the winemaking was up to Ivan Markovina Jr. who quickly became an expert in the field. Each year, Ivan Jr. would enter the Estate’s wines into the Easter Show and the wine would always do well. One year, Markovina Estate’s entries received 16 bronze medals and one commended silver.
Realising the Estate’s potential, Ivan Jr. and his wife Rina worked together to begin hosting events. Rina was very much in charge of the catering and Ivan would tend the bar and see to the spit roast.
Ivan and Rina soon became known for their hosting abilities and Markovina Vineyard Estate turned into a popular wedding and function venue. Rina also hosted both her son and daughter’s weddings at the estate. Mark married Elizabeth in 2002, and Antonia married Andy in 2012. An evolving family business the Markovina family have upheld the belief that reinvesting in the Estate means they can keep improving what they have to offer.
So what’s changed? Over the long lifespan of Markovina Vineyard Estate, a lot has changed. But one thing has always remained the same, the philosophy of the family-run business is still at the heart of all operations. There are still a few rows of the original grapevines at the Estate, however the majority of what were 10 acres of grapevines has been transformed into entertaining areas, ceremony locations and beautiful gardens for wedding photography. Now with an onsite chef and catering team, Rina has been able to move away from the kitchen. However, she still continues to create a unique and memorable experience for Markovina’s wedding.