Head­ing North

Cen­tral Otago’s loss is the Wairarapa and Welling­ton’s gain now that one of its star wine­mak­ers, Carol Bunn, has shifted lo­ca­tions and fo­cus.

Good - - CONTENTS - By Joëlle Thom­son Find out more at Joëlle Thom­son’s on­line wine guide.

Ex­pert wine­maker Carol Bunn’s move to Wairarapa

You know what they say about tak­ing the girl out of the coun­try­side? Well, when that girl is Cen­tral Otago wine­maker Carol Bunn, you can’t take the coun­try­side out of her. So, when she moved home towns last year for the first time in her life, Bunn swapped one small town for an­other, only this time she has cho­sen the back blocks of the Wairarapa.

Her name is a by­word for Cen­tral Otago Pinot Noir, but for the first time in her life, Bunn has taken her tal­ent to the North Is­land and now lives mid­way between Mart­in­bor­ough and Carter­ton.

Bunn was born and bred in Ar­row­town, where she lived and breathed her work. In 2014 she be­gan com­mut­ing between there, Marl­bor­ough and Mart­in­bor­ough, work­ing as a con­sul­tant wine­maker on the run, un­til she was of­fered a job at the or­gan­i­cally cer­ti­fied Ur­lar win­ery in cen­tral Wairarapa last year. Their or­ganic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion ap­pealed to Bunn’s sense of car­ing for the earth as part of the grape-grow­ing and wine­mak­ing process. And she was at­tracted to the owner’s ded­i­ca­tion to bio­dy­nam­ics – best de­scribed as an ex­treme ded­i­ca­tion to sus­tain­able farm­ing. She also ad­mired the wines of Ur­lar Es­tate, par­tic­u­larly the sau­vi­gnon blanc, ries­ling and pinot gris. Her part­ner, Larry McKenna, lives nearby in Mart­in­bor­ough – an­other, more per­sonal, rea­son to re­lo­cate.

So it seemed like just the right time to make the big move north. While Bunn loves Cen­tral Otago and

misses home, she does not miss the changes she sees in the deep south.

“Ar­row­town is al­most like a lit­tle

Auck­land now. I love it as the place

I grew up in, but it’s becoming a harder place to re­lax. Our fam­ily has a farm of a cou­ple of hun­dred hectares and when the new cy­cle­way was put through, it caused a lot of pres­sure be­cause we had no choice in the mat­ter. It has changed a lot for our fam­ily group. We all de­cided to work to­gether closely with the Trails Trust and lo­cal coun­cil to get the cy­cle­way trails where they needed to go on the farm.”

She now lives about 90 min­utes’ drive from Welling­ton. It’s a con­ve­nient trip into the big smoke, but Bunn spends most of her down time in the thriv­ing lit­tle town of Mart­in­bor­ough, which re­minds her of how Cen­tral Otago used to be, prior to the dis­cov­ery of its dra­matic nat­u­ral beauty and its rus­tic liv­ing his­tory.

Now that the big move is done and dusted, she is hap­pily en­sconced in her new wine­mak­ing role at Ur­lar where she wants to build on the at­trac­tive qual­i­ties of the pinot noirs by al­low­ing their fruity soft­ness to shine more brightly. And a chardonnay might be in the pipe­line too. Watch this space. g

joel­lethom­son.com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.