Our Story

Esses Estate is the located with pristine surrounds of Kaikoura Seaward ranges, with stunning views across the peninsula and along Kaikoura coastline. 20-year-old vines over 1.5ha are the passion of Aaron and Mel Skinner and their little boy Parker.

Our Heritage

Esses Estate nestled at the base of the snow-capped peaks of Mt Fyffe in Kaikoura. The stony soils heat up during the day and the gentle sea breezes providing cooling influences, creating a stunning long ripening period. 

Esses name simply meaning plural of “S” and celebrates the terroir and natural influences of the vineyard and of course the Skinner name, all of which begin with the letter ‘S.’ 

Mel and Aaron are passionate sparkling lovers and having searched the world found a gorgeous little plot of vines located in the magnificent foothills of Kaikoura. 

Esses is the only vineyard with Kaikoura township and specialises solely in Méthode Traditionnelle.

Our Values


We seek to create high quality wines through utilising ‘living soils and minimal intervention winemaking to produce wines that intensely reflect where they are grown.


Our approach is to create expressive and inspiring wines that exude artfulness and intrigue. We embrace creative ingenuity to achieve positive outcomes across our operations.


Our wines are made to be shared with friends and family and celebrate all of life’s moments. We prescribe to a quality over quantity philosophy, compatible with a sociable, healthy lifestyle.


Our aim is to grow complex vintage wines, which reflect intelligence, style, and reputation.


As grower-producer, family-owned vineyard we have deeply immersive ourselves into all aspects of the growing process with the aim to create exciting, authentic, high-quality wines.

What sets us apart

The process of making Méthode Traditionnelle is a labour of love for Mel and Aaron. 

Méthode Traditionnelle is the process used by premium sparkling wine producers, most famous for its use in Champagne. It is a labour-intensive technique that is recognised for producing the most refined, complex, and age-worthy examples of sparkling wine. 

Each of Esses vintage Méthode Traditionnelle’ takes approximately 5 years to create. 

We spend the first 12 months making a high quality still wine, which is then bottled and undergoes a secondary fermentation with the bottle. It is then left to mature for a minimum of 36 months, during which time it goes through a process of ‘autolysis’ that adds complexity and richness to the wine and lifted aromatics. 

Esses wine is a member of Méthode Marlborough, a grower lead society passionate about creating world class sparkling.

Vine and Soil care

Esses Estate is situated on Kaikoura’s Mt Fyffe alluvial fans. 

Esses takes a “living soil” approach, encouraging plants to grow under the vines, whose roots then oxygenate the soil and provide cover for moisture retention. 

The plants attract bees, worms and insects making a diverse ecosystem for the microorganisms and delicate fungi to thrive. Microorganisms, bacteria, and fungi in turn supply nutrients to the vines. 

Through maximising the life within the soil, this allows vines to fully interact with their environment and to produce fruit that develops aromas, flavours and structural elements that speak of our estate.