Recipe: Loaded Vegan Nachos with Rockburn Pinot Gris

2-3 persons | 10 min.

Vegan Loaded Nachos


300g of your favourite Nacho chips 1 can chili beans, heated
1 yellow capsicum, sliced
1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup black olives, sliced
Guacamole, see below
Fresh coriander


1 avocado, mashed
1 lime, juiced
1/2 red onion, nicely diced salt & pepper to taste


Load the nachos by stacking the chips on a large plate and adding all of the toppings in the order of the list of ingredients.

Cover with tons of guacamole and enjoy immediately!

Ripe stonefruit & pear characters, coupled with a long zesty finish make our off-dry Pinot Gris the perfect companion for a vegan Mexican fiesta!

Debunking Vegan Wine

“Rockburn Wines are 100% vegan.”
“Really? How could they be anything other than vegan?”

It might be obvious to us wine nerds but the fact that most widely available wines are not vegan seems to be little known which is surprising as plant based diets and lifestyles are more popular than ever.

We’ve put together a quick Q&A based on the most commonly asked questions from wine drinkers to help debunk vegan wine for you.


Why are some wines not vegan?

Non-vegan wines are treated with “fining agents” that are made from animal products.


Which animal products are fining agents made from?

Blood and bone marrow, casein (milk protein), chitin (fiber from crustacean shells), egg albumen (derived from egg whites), fish oil, gelatin (protein from boiling animal parts), and isinglass (gelatin from fish bladder membranes).


Why are these fining agents used?

These fining agents help eliminate proteins, yeasts and other molecules that give wine a cloudy appearance. They can also eliminate harsh tannins, helping the wine taste smoother at a younger age.


What’s the alternative to using these fining agents?

Time. Without fining agents, wine will typically become less cloudy on its own, it simply takes a little more time. Fining simply speed up the process that may otherwise take a few months.


How can I find out if a wine is vegan or not?

Read the label. Thanks to the NZ Foods Standards Code the presence of fining agents as potential allergen products must be declared on the back label of a wine.


Why did you decide to make Rockburn wines 100% vegan?

It’s a reflection of Malcolm Rees-Francis’ winemaking philosophy: to treat the fruit (and wine) as gently as possible, with minimum interference and maximum ease of use.


Are vegan wines as good as non-vegan wines?

Yes! Our 100% vegan wines are received numerous prestigious awards over the last decade and excellent reviews from national and international wine judges.

Celebrate the #firstkissofsummer with Stolen Kiss ’17

We’re releasing our highly anticipated 2017 Stolen Kiss at daylight saving on 24 September 2017, offering the #firstkissofsummer to wine lovers around the country.

We’re a Rosé pioneer in New Zealand, being one of the first wineries to take the pink tipple seriously, creating a cult-like following with our limited edition Rosé for several years now.

Stolen Kiss is made from grapes ‘stolen’ from Rockburn’s highly awarded Pinot Noir. The sweetly, frivolous and fruity side of Central Otago Pinot Noir is bound  up in this Rosé, evoking summertime rolling-in-the-clover frivolity and romance.

“Stolen Kiss greets you with candy-floss and crème-brûlée aromas, leading into a flirtatious toffee-apple and simmering strawberry palate smeared with cherry lip-gloss”, says winemaker Malcolm Rees-Francis.

Stolen Kiss Rosé is available in selected fine wine stores including Glengarry outlets and in our Online Shop from 24 September 2017.

Celebrate the #firstkissofsummer with us on:
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New winery future-proofs Rockburn Wines in Central Otago

After leasing premises at the industrial McNulty Road site for 10 years, the team at Rockburn Wines recently completed their first vintage at their new winery in Ripponvale Road, Cromwell.

The award-winning producer acquired the existing winery site in September last year to meet increasing demand and future-proof its operation.

“Due to rapid growth and remarkable popularity of our wines, we were forced to outsource some processes in previous years due to capacity shortfalls. We’re very pleased to bring everything back under one roof from this vintage onwards. The old McNulty Road winery was getting near breaking point and we’re thrilled to have found a site at Ripponvale Road that sets us up for further growth,” says Paul Donaghy, General Manager of Rockburn Wines.

Rockburn experienced exceptional demand for their range of premium wines in recent years, especially in their key export market Australia.

After an extensive re-fit and upgrade of the winery, winemaker Malcolm Francis-Rees successfully managed the transition to the Ripponvale Road site within a four-week window prior to the 2016 harvest getting underway. It was worth the effort as the new premises provide sufficient room for new equipment allowing Malcolm to complete Rockburn’s largest ever vintage under one roof.

The new semi-rural site comes with stunning-views of the rugged Central Otago landscape and a hectare of land to allow further expansion in the future.

Rockburn’s Cellar Door remains at McNulty Road and is open 7 days between 11am-4pm.

Rockburn releases limited edition Stolen Kiss Pinot Noir & Rosé

Rockburn’s Stolen Kiss Rosé enjoys a cult following around country for a couple of years now and the boutique producer from Cromwell now added another way to enjoy the “fruity and saucy side” of Central Otago Pinot Noir with the launch of their limited edition Stolen Kiss Pinot Noir.

Stolen Kiss wines are made from grapes ‘stolen’ from Rockburn’s best Central Otago Pinot Noir. The name alone evokes images of summertime rolling-in-the-clover frivolity and romance.

“Once the Pinot Noir is unleashed into your glass its bright berry and cherry aromas shall sashay into a lip-smacking Black Forest gateaux and poached plum palate, fortified by toasty oak”, says winemaker Malcolm Francis-Rees. “The Rosé greets you with candy-floss and crème-brûlée aromas, leading into a flirtatious toffee-apple and simmering strawberry palate smeared with cherry lip-gloss.”

The unique range is dressed in a “stolen” tall and slender shaped bottle that is commonly used for Bordeaux style wines and a clear see-through label to show of their glorious colours.

This Pinot rebels are the perfect drops to welcome spring and enjoy the warmer days ahead with family and friends.

Find out more about these Central Pinots on Rockburn’s website. You can purchase the Pinot Noir and Rosé for $29.99 and $25.99 (RRP) respectively in selected fine wine stores around the country including Glengarry outlets.

Rockburn releases highly anticipated 2014 Pinot Noir

Rockburn has just released the 2014 vintage of its flagship wine.

Winemaker, Malcolm Rees-Francis says: “Our 2014 Pinot Noir is a pure expression of Central Otago in your glass and another stellar example of our favourite variety. The vintage yielded beautiful fruit from our Parkburn and Gibbston sites, which we have simply guided gently through to the bottle with minimal handling.”

“Central Otago has produced some outstanding wines in 2014”, says Cameron Douglas MS, who picked Rockburn as one of his six top Pinot Noirs in Decanter magazine earlier this year. He rated the 2014 Pinot Noir with 94 pts and described it as “distinctive, fragrant, spicy, fruity and packed with Central Otago pinosity, vibrant red fruits, just enough oak, complex. Delicious on the palate, firm youthful tannins, lightly savoury, tense long finish.”

The 2014 Pinot Noir has been released with an impressive medal tally, claiming top accolades and ratings in the producer’s key export markets including Australia, the UK and China, as well as at home.

The intense 2014 vintage (similar in style to the 2010 and 2012 vintages) mirrors its intense growing season with spring frosts reducing the yields at both sites. The fruit was picked between the 20th March and 14th April in Parkburn, and on the 29th April in Gibbston. Bottled on the 18th of March this year the 2014 Pinot Noir spent 10 months in French oak and is now ready to be enjoyed over the next 4-9 years.

Rockburn Pinot Noir 2014 has an RRP of NZD 49 and is available at selected retailers and restaurants as well as in Rockburn’s online shop.

Rockburn Wines appoints Rebecca Poynter as new General Manager

Rockburn Wines is pleased to announce that Rebecca Poynter has been appointed as their new General Manager, following the resignation of Paul Donaghy who, after six years with the winery, is leaving to pursue new projects.

Ms. Poynter has extensive wine industry experience in general management, sales, marketing, FMCG and export market development for Australian and New Zealand wineries, and will return from over ten years in Australia to take up this position.

“I am excited to be returning to New Zealand to work for Rockburn, a Central Otago winery with an excellent reputation both in New Zealand and its export markets”, says Ms. Poynter. “The winery has a very strong line-up of beautifully crafted wines, and the calibre of Rockburn’s Pinot Noir is regularly recognised with a multitude of international awards over successive vintages.”

Over the last six years Ms. Poynter has held the position of General Manager for Australian winery businesses Bimbadgen; one of the Hunter Valley’s most prestigious winery tourism operations and Hollick Estates, Coonawarra. She moved to Bimbadgen from Villa Maria Estate, having been based in Sydney for four years as their Market Manager for Australia and Asia. She travelled and worked extensively throughout the region this role.

Ms. Poynter originally joined Villa Maria in 1995 and progressed through territory management, national accounts, trade marketing and marketing management with the company. She left Villa Maria for two years in the early 2000’s to develop her marketing skills at Fosters’ in both wine and spirits.

Her formal qualifications are in advertising and marketing, wine and business. In addition Ms. Poynter is a qualified chef, with experience both running kitchens and managing front of house operations, along with major concert events.

Ms. Poynter will commence her new role at Rockburn Wines in mid-January.

Rockburn Pinot Noir recognized by Wine Enthusiast & Wine Spectator

Rockburn’s highly acclaimed 2013 Pinot Noir from Central Otago added international ratings by the world’s leading wine publications to its scorecard, receiving 92pt by The Wine Enthusiast and a 90pt rating by The Wine Spectator.

General Manager, Paul Donaghy says: “We are thrilled to be recognized by these top US wine publications, especially after launching our wines into the States, the largest wine market in the world, only a few months ago. We teamed up with American Estates Wines as our exclusive US importer last year, who are very passionate about our wines and we’re pleased that our highly acclaimed Central Otago wines can now also be enjoyed by American wine lovers.”

The boutique producer’s flagship wine only recently scored double Gold for their 2013 and 2014 vintages at the Drinks Business Global Pinot Noir Masters tastings in the UK.

American Estates Wines, considered the longest operating importer of New Zealand wines to the US, has represented Rockburn, and its sister brand Devil Staircase Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, exclusively since September 2015.

“American Estates Wines is very pleased to add Rockburn and Devil’s Staircase to its New Zealand portfolio,” said George Galey, President. “It builds on Rockburn’s reputation as a New World wine of international acclaim.”

Founded in 1986 by George Galey, American Estates Wines selects, imports and markets single vineyard and small estate wines from New Zealand, Australia, Chile, in addition to its domestic portfolio. The company is listed by The Wine Advocate as one of the top specialty importers in the US.

Rockburn Pinot Noir wins 2 Gold Medals at Global Pinot Noir Masters

Rockburn Pinot Noir 2013 and 2014 have been awarded Gold at The Drinks Business Global Pinot Noir Masters in the UK.

The Central Otago boutique producer once again made its mark on the world stage, picking up two of the three gold medals awarded to Central Otago producers in the 20-30 GBP price bracket at this extensive international blind tasting.

General Manager, Paul Donaghy commented on this achievement: “It’s fantastic to see that our flagship wine is not only highly rated here in New Zealand but on par with some of the world’s greatest Pinot Noirs. Michael Cooper rated the 2013 vintage just recently 5 stars and with this fantastic result we look particularly forward to releasing the 2014 vintage in a few weeks time in June/July.”

An expert panel of judges consisting nine Masters of Wine and one Master Sommelier and chaired by The Drinks Business editor-in-chief Patrick Schmitt MW assessed the 100% Pinot Noir entries on February the 18th.

In a crowded wine competition arena, The Drinks Business Global Pinot Noir Masters is in its third year and stands out for its assessment of wines purely by grape variety rather than region. Divided only by price bracket and, for ease of judging, whether the style was oaked or unoaked, the blind tasting format allows wines to be assessed without prejudice about their country of origin. The wines are scored out of 100, with those gaining more than 95 points being awarded the top title of Master. Those earning more than 90 points are given a gold medal.

Full results of the Drink Business Masters tasting can be viewed here and will be published in the April edition.