Central Otago (7) tasting verticals with Gibbston Valley

Christopher Keys, Gibbston Valley winemaker

This was my third time visiting Gibbston Valley, one of Central Otago’s pioneering wineries. Back in 1981 Alan Brady, who had previously worked as a journalist in Northern Ireland, planted 500 vines here. He was one of a small group who believed in the potential of the region, and this […]

Central Otago (6) Providore

Pete Bartle is the winemaker at VinPro, which is one of the two most significant contract wineries in Central Otago. He currently makes some of the highest-rated wines in Central Otago. Even though VinPro are a big winery in the region, they process only 800 tons through their winery each year, which in a New […]

Central Otago (5) the beautiful naturally made wines of Aurum

Aurum is one of Central Otago’s hidden gems. They are known in the region, but they don’t export. But these wines are worth seeking out. Naturally and sensitively made, they are serious expressions of place.

Lucie Lawrence

Aurum dates back to 1997 when Joan and Tony Lawrence planted the 45th Parallel Vineyard on the Pisa Flats. […]

Central Otago (4) Te Kano and their stunning new vineyard

Looking across to the Northburn vineyard

It’s always exciting to see new vineyards being developed. In recent years one of the most exciting vineyard projects in Central Otago has been the development of a large vineyard in Northburn, on the hills overlooking Lake Dunstan, by Te Kano. This is a substantial undertaking, and so far […]

Central Otago (3) Prophet's Rock Cuvée Aux Antipodes, with Francois and Paul

Paul Pujol and François Millet

Back in 2009 Paul Pujol went to do vintage at De Vogüé in Burgundy, with François Millet. Later, in 2013, Paul took François’ son as an intern, and François and his wife visited Central Otago. Since then, they have struck up a friendship and made a wine together from the […]

Central Otago (2) interview with Christopher Keys, Gibbston Valley

Yesterday I caught up with Christopher Keys at Gibbston Valley. He’s one of the more thoughtful winegrowers in the region, and I asked him how his approach to winemaking had changed over the years – he’s been making the wines here since 2006.


Before, he says, he was trying to impress people with his wines. He’s […]

Back in Central Otago

It’s so great to be back in Central Otago, in New Zealand’s South Island. Prior to the annual Central Pinot celebration, which starts on Thursday, I’m spending a week visiting producers and getting to know this region better. I’ve been here several times already, but there’s still much to learn. And as it’s such a […]

Javi Revert: naturally made wines from Valencia, Spain

Javi Revert works as a winemaker at Celler del Roure in Valencia, Spain, but he also moonlights, making his own wine. He has discovered some old, terraced sites at altitude (the climate here is very warm), which at the time were planted with field blends. The soils here are rich in limestone and he’s chosen […]

Alternative Bordeaux (5) natural wine at Château Peybonhomme, Côtes de Blaye

The Hubert family are sixth-generation vignerons based in Cars, near Blaye. The family arrived at Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours, which is on a small hill overlooking the Gironde estuary. Sister and brother Rachel and Guillaume Hubert run things these days, and the reason they are included in alternative Bordeaux is that they are one of the relatively […]

New York Wines (18) Thirsty Owl, Finger Lakes

The origin of Thirsty Owl was 200 acres of land belonging to Bob and Mary Plane who were instrumental in pushing for the NY Farm Winery Act, which made it feasible for grape growers to open wineries back in the 1970s when the dominant big companies were dropping contracts. They were grape suppliers, and after […]