Who is DevineWine & the wine-making team
Questions and answers: History in wine industry:
Stu…I have had 30 years roaming the vineyards, selling products the grape growers require on their farms and advising them on best practice from bud-burst to harvesting and then onto selling that wine in America.
Rod… I moved to Hawke’s Bay and worked my first harvest in ’93, all have been in NZ except for a couple in France. I spent 14 years with the Villa Maria group as the Vidal winemaker before starting my own wine business in 2006.
Hayden…Graduating in 2006 with a Bachelor of Viticulture and a Bachelor of Wine Science, I started my wine life with Te Awa as the assistant winemaker. Following this I spent 3 years doing the ‘flying winemaker’ adventure and was lucky enough to work in Australia, Spain, Marlborough, USA and Bulgaria.
Moving back to the Bay in 2010 as the Vineyard manager and winemaker for William Murdoch, moving into a similar role with Supernatural Wine Co from 2014-2021, and have been with Te Awanga since January 2021.
Paddy…40 vintages around the world and at home, saw the start of the Marlborough wine industry in the 90’s. 20 years at Borthwick vineyard, stating from a bare stony summer dry riverbed paddock.
Briony… My first vintage was in Marlborough in 1999 fresh from my studies at Lincoln Uni in 1998. From there I did the travelling vintage – Sonoma, Hunter Valley, Babich in West Auckland, Cable Bay Vineyards and Oyster Bay then another vintage in Southern France, in an area know as the ‘Gard’ region in a very small village – Monteils’. Now with Paddy at Borthwick Vineyard
How they got into wine:
Stu…I really enjoyed the grape growers I worked with when I sold horticultural products to apple and vineyards. They were the salt of the earth and some of the most decent, easy-going people I had ever met, so I decided to follow in their footsteps and bought a vineyard, damn!
Rod… Working in restaurants and bars, visiting producers and seeing the conviction, learning about the journey from farmer to winemaker to marketer and salesman and thinking it would be a pretty cool way to spend your working life.
Hayden…When I first left school I tried to get into Physiotherapy in Dunedin. I missed out! but helped out a mate down there who’s father was planting a vineyard. Spending every holiday period from that moment working on the vineyard and helping establish the block, I fell in love with growing grapes and this progressed into a love of wine.
Paddy… Opportunity to go to Australia to university and study something new. My dad looking to diversify a family farming business and suggested wine in Australia as NZ had no courses at this early stage. Great suggestion and have not regretted any moment in the 35 year journey to where we are now.
Briony… I was heading into my last year of my BSC and decided through a range of experiences that I needed a future career involving doing something creative. My Dad suggested winemaking and I guess at this I had a ‘light- bulb’ moment. I joined the Auckland University wine club and got a Sunday job in a wine shop. The Sunday roast soon involved identifying aromas in the wines and Hamish had to endure bottles of wine being ordered whenever we went out for a ‘romantic’ meal.
How does the family look at them:
Stu…my boys have always loved the wine business and enjoy drinking wine and love the knowledge they have gained in being involved in the industry. Dom is doing his first vintage in Hawkes Bay but he and Josh have pruned their fair share of vineyards while Jenny has been a great form of support and enjoys the energy of the industry.
Rod… Jo’s had 26 years of it so there’s not a lot she hasn’t seen and been through with me. The kids are finding their own favourite bits. Bruno loves the machinery, Lola is into the Cellardoor and hospitality side. Arlo’s more into playing footy and surfing, so I’m not sure where he’ll end up. I’m not holding my breath about any of the kids getting into wine, they’ve all said it looks like far too much hard work!
Hayden…They love it! My kids love coming out to the vineyard and going for rides on the tractors and quad bikes. My wife doesn’t exactly love the amount of solo parenting she has to do over vintage but she does love sampling the goods(the wine that is!)
Paddy… I drive Sarah mad but she enjoys the product from the vineyard.
Proud that the brand/wines has been created from a bare paddock.
Possible vocation for the kids if they want to continue the farmer fermenter approach to building a world class brand from the Wairarapa
Briony....My parents enjoyed coming to see what was happening at the winery.
Hamish and the kids are very used to me being ‘out for vintage’. They take it all in their stride now and have adjusted to my absence in autumn. Fox said to me before vintage this year, “I don’t like vintage because I don’t see you as much.” Isla just reckons she’s “used to it”. Hamish does what is needed and lets me get on with it. I consider myself lucky.