An American in Hawke’s Bay: Winemaker Daniel Brennan releases new “Testify” wine range

This week is a milestone for Hawke’s Bay based Winemaker Daniel Brennan, with the first full release of his eagerly awaited “Testify” wine range.

The “Testify” range is only made in exceptional vintages, and the 2018 vintage was the first year he made all three wines in the range: 2018 Te Awanga Chardonnay, 2018 Martinborough Pinot Noir and 2018 Gimblett Gravels Red.

American born, it has been fourteen years since Daniel decided to move to New Zealand to pursue a winemaking career from his roots in the music industry and his family’s restaurant in Philadelphia.

Now 13 vintages in the making Daniel says, ‘I’ve only just started producing the wines I know I’m capable of with this amazing New Zealand fruit and hand on heart Testify is my best effort from vintages worthy”.

Inspired by a song by Robbie Robertson, one of Daniel’s favourite artists, the name Testify evokes gospel music for Daniel, who is also an amateur musician. So much so that he is willing to put himself (and his wife Mara) in the spotlight with an original song he penned for the release of his beloved wines. “To me these wines are about bearing witness, standing up and declaring what I believe in, what I see in front of me and what is the truth. To that end I’m putting myself on the line with my wines and my music”

Reflecting on his winemaking career in New Zealand Daniel says “I’ve had tremendous consulting help and advice from my peers and mentors along the way.  Many winemakers have inspired, challenged and helped me get to this stage and the hard work and knowledge of the growers I work with on all of my wines have directed me to this point.” A Kiwi at heart, Daniel says New Zealand, particularly Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough have changed him a great deal.  “I feel kinship with these places-my Turangawaewae, connected to Whakapapa, particularly my Sicilian Great Grandfather and winemaker Michelino Rodolico”

Sadly, the Hawke’s Bay (Bistronomy) and Auckland (La Fuente) wine launch events had to be postponed due to Covid19 (new dates will be announced asap) however Dan hopes to take the Testify wine roadshow to Wellington on Tuesday September 2nd.  He has chosen the Salty Pidgen as the venue as it is the New Zealand place that reminds him most of his family’s spot in Philadelphia ( Guests should RSVP direct to Salty Pidgen Tel 04 385 9137

Wine lovers will not miss out with the Testify range will be available to pre-order online at Wines will ship in September and are expected to sell-out fast.


The full Testify 2018 wine range is:

2018 Testify Te Awanga Chardonnay – Clone 15 from the near ocean vineyard, barrel fermented in a a 650 litre cigar, 600 litre Demi-Muid and a 150 litre barrel, all French oak, heavy solids, amazing mix of ocean-front acid, lush fruit and flinty aromatics

2018 Testify Martinborough Pinot Noir – Certified Organic Vineyard, dry farmed vineyard on clay soils over free draining riverbed.  Mix of Dijon Clones and Clone 5, Aged for 10 months in French Oak Barriques, held in bottle for 18 months before its release.  Elegance and perk.

2018 Testify Gimblett Gravels Red – Certified Organic Vineyard, 80% Malbec and 20% Merlot, 5 weeks on skins, aged for 26 months in a mixture of 500 litre French puncheons and 225 litre French barriques. Unique character and power.


Media Release – 20th August 2020