We've welcomed many of you to the Rockburn Cellar Door. It's the one spot we get to pour our wines for you in the place they were grown and made. Central Otago is a special place not just for kiwis but also for those who find their way here from abroad — just like Alexandra, our Cellar Door Manager.
Originally from France, we thought we'd ask her some questions about what life is like when you make Central Otago your home.
Q) When did you know you wanted to work in the world of wine?
A) Since I was 10, in France, my parent’s house was surrounded by vineyards. My neighbour was a winemaker and wine, is part of the culture in my home country.
I studied law for one year and realised that it wasn’t for me. I got a job in a wine house where I was promoting more than 100 wine references. I completely fell in love with the industry and decided to study wine and tourism. Since, I met so many amazing people, worked for different wineries and different winemakers. Working in the wine industry is not a job but a passion.
Q) What is it about Central Otago Pinot Noir that sets it apart from other NZ regions?
A) Sub-regions, micro-climates, soils, winemaking philosophies. Every year is different, and I love how winemakers showcase the different terroir here.
Q) Another favourite wine region of the world and what’s the attraction (wine, site, people)?
A) I love art, architecture, landscapes full of vineyard… One of my favourite places is Chianti in Italy. I had the opportunity to travel around this area and I completely loved it. Tuscany is beautiful, people are so welcoming and stopping at a wine bar in Firenze or Sienna and try some delicious Chianti Classico or Gran Riserva was just one of the best times of my life.
Q) When you’re not drinking wine, what is your Go to beverage choice?
A) CRAFT BEER! I discovered New Zealand craft beers more than 5 years ago, just delicious. Hazy IPA during summer and Porter over the winter.
Q) What are your favourite things to spend time doing when you’re not tasting wine.
A) I would love to say that staying at home is my favourite thing, but it will be a lie… I am very active and social, I love climbing mountains around Queenstown, Wanaka or Glenorchy and catch up with people... Over winter you will see me at the top of the Remarkables or Coronet Peak.
Q) What’s your favourite style of restaurant to dine at and why?
A) I am easy but the most important thing for me is that I have a good time surrounding by my people with a nice meal and drinks. I do have a favourite place in Queenstown, but I will keep it secret…
Q) The NZ wine industry has changed a lot while you’ve been working within it. What do you think is the next best kept NZ wine secret we share with the world?
A) Central Otago Chardonnay for sure! I will not be surprised if Central Otago will be the next Chardonnay destination.
Q) What are some of the things that you love about living in Central Otago?
A) Everything! Mountains, Lakes, Wineries, Vineyards, ski fields, lovely people, amazing spirit… This place is amazing! I was supposed to stay here for 6 months, and I am still here 5 years and a half later.