Ian Dee (Georgetown Vineyard), Jean Gibson (Lowburn Ferry),
Holger Reinecke (Lindis River Wines), Max Marriott (Auburn
Wines), Sue Thompson (TOSQ) and Roberta and John Montero
(Ellero) are involved with newly launched Artisan
Winegrowers of Central Otago. Photo by Max Marriott.
Six small Central Otago wine growers have banded
together, aspiring to a greater promotion, awareness and
appreciation for artisan wines.
The newly formed Artisan Winegrowers of Central Otago (Awco)
said its establishment followed a growing market trend for
greater transparency, individuality and integrity of wine
brands, as demanded by consumers moving away from corporate
multinationals and mass-produced ''plonk''.
It would also serve as a collaborative sales and marketing
team, combining resources to achieve a critical mass that
could more effectively tackle domestic and offshore markets.
Awco comprised Auburn Wines, Ellero, Georgetown Vineyard,
Lindis River, Lowburn Ferry and TOSQ, whose cumulative
production ''barely scratched'' 5000 cases. Each had its own
point of difference and specialisation.
Chairman Max Marriott, of Auburn Wines, described the launch
as ''very exciting''.
''Being very small and super-quality focused, the needs of
modest brands such as ours are different from the blueprint
that governs the rest of the industry.
''Far from replacing existing industry bodies, we see this
banding together as a way of boosting our profile and
supporting each other in addition to the various associations
that we contribute and draw from,'' he said.
The group had plans to tour New Zealand, affording wine
enthusiasts an opportunity to meet the people behind the
wines and share in their stories, their trials and
tribulations, and their triumphs.
Auburn Wines was established in 2008 by three friends - Mr
Marriott, David Paterson and Andrew Burge - with the aim of
focusing solely on riesling wine.
Wine industry veterans John and Roberta Montero, from Ellero,
left California and Oregon for the Cromwell basin more than
12 years ago, convinced there was potential to make great
wine, particularly pinot noir.
Georgetown Vineyard, at the entrance to the Kawarau Gorge, is
owned and run using organic methods by Ian and Marianne Dee,
while Lindis River, at Cromwell, focuses solely on pinot
Lowburn Ferry Vineyard, beneath the Pisa Range, was first
planted by Roger and Jean Gibson in 2000.
Carl and Sue Thompson established their family-owned
vineyards, TOSQ, in 2001, on two adjoining sites in the Pisa