Blair and I came to New Zealand from Sydney, in 1996. We love Australia but our families are here and both mothers were alive then so it was really good to be back. We bought this bare block early in 1997, built a house and planted a vineyard. Blair had taken the position of CEO at Telford Rural Polytechnic and it wasn’t until March 2001 that we actually came to live in the house we had built.Well, we didn’t exactly build it – not with our bare hands as such, but we had the plans drawn up, jumped through the Resource and Building Consent hoops, employed a builder and paid all the bills.
The first vines went in in 1997. We started with a couple of hectares of Pinot Noir and gradually extended into Pinot Gris and Riesling. We knew nothing apart from how to drink the product and we had a fair bit of experience there, but Robin Dicey and Greg Hay looked at the land and advised us. We dug a few deep holes so we could examine the profile, got more advice, then took the plunge. Robin did the designing and planting. We had to use cuttings back then because of the wait for grafted vines and anyway there was no sign of Phylloxera in Central Otago so we were pretty safe.
Neither Blair nor I knew anything about wine making but we had a few years grace before decisions had to be made. Grant Taylor took us on and that must have been the luckiest day of our lives!
Estelle Hunt, July 12 2011