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 Duncan, our Cellar Door Manager.
Originally from the UK, we thought we'd ask him 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?
I was working in a bar in York (UK) and a friend had just finished a culinary degree that had a wine module. We used to do wine tastings after work, and I was intrigued by the differences and stories that came with the wines and I knew I wanted to learn more.
Q — What is it about Central Otago Pinot Noir that sets it apart from other NZ regions?
The sub-regions here are so distinct and Pinot Noir is an amazing medium for showing those differences. Spice, acidity, savoury, structure, fruit are all available here and vintage is everything.
Q — What is another wine region of the world that you are inspired by?
Though I haven’t been to any wine regions in France as an adult, how could you not be amazed by everything that goes on there? It may not be as exciting and ever changing as the ‘New World’ but you are literally tasting, smelling, seeing and living the history of wine in those areas.
Q — When you’re not drinking wine, what is your Go To beverage choice?
Craft Beer. Something for any time of day and any weather including breakfast!
Q — What are your favourite things to spend time doing when you’re not tasting wine.
I try to take advantage of everything Queenstown has to offer but mainly mountain biking in the summer and snowboarding in the winter. The trails around here are so accessible and outstanding.
Q — What’s your favourite style of restaurant to dine at and why?
I have a long history in hospitality so it’s hard to chose one style but any kind of shared dining rocks! Friends and loved ones enjoying the company they are in and hopefully a good feed. It also means you get to try more dishes.
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?
Central Otago Chardonnay. It has been made around here for decades but I think that wine makers around here a really ready to back the lean & mineral-driven styles that come with a cool climate and more punters are prepared to try Chardonnays again.
Q — What are some of the things that you love about living in Central Otago?
What’s not to love?! Great wine, great people, and a setting that not enough people will ever get to experience. You can do as much or as little as you want and be happy every day you wake up.
Who wouldn't want to come and have a wine with that guy?