With the 2011 vintage in the barrel, I have now passed 40 years of involvement in the wine industry, 36 of them in New Zealand.
"It might seem presumptuous to brand a wine with one’s own name, but I think I’ve earned it and it’s akin to a personal guarantee."
Besides, the market is well saturated with labels depicting or evoking the geology and geography of New Zealand.
My journey began in Germany in 1970 in the Rheingau, where I spent a year at Schloss Johannisberg before studying viticulture and winemaking at Geisenheim. I bought a small part of the Lorchauser Rosenberg vineyard whilst there, producing 2 vintages, the first from the fabulous 1971 year, the second from the totally forgettable ‘72.
After a stint in Bordeaux with Barton & Guestier, I returned to New Zealand working with Montana and Penfolds in Auckland, before heading south to Christchurch's St Helena. In 1989 I founded Waipara Springs Wine Co followed by my own Floating Mountain where, between 1993 and 2006 I enjoyed several stunning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vintages.
During this time I also conducted winemaking at Waipara Downs Wines, Waipara West, Black Estate and Weka River Wines.In the late '90s / early ‘00s, I also oversaw the winemaking at Canterbury House Winery (now Mud House Winery).
I am currently the winemaker for Skimmerhorn Winery & Vineyard in British Columbia, Canada where I spend 3 months each year, and I am also the winemaker for and a director of Butterfish Bay Wines on the stunningly beautiful Paewhenua Island near Mangonui, Northland. More recently, I have acquired a passion for and a belief in Hawkes Bay Syrah where, in 2009, after careful selection, I secured a small parcel on the Gimblett Gravels. For the 2010 vintage, I added an equally small parcel of Gimblett Gravels Chardonnay, a variety for which I have had a long time vinous love.
My partner Christine and I will spare no effort in bringing to all who appreciate wine, hand-crafted and individualistic wines from this great ‘terroir’.