Californian, Noosan, Kiwi vigneron

by Martin Field

So I’m sculling a tasty New Zealand pinot noir at Laguna Jacks and this guy comes up to me and asks me in an American accent how I like his wine.

I learn that his name is Quintin Quider and that the pinot is from a Central Otago winery, Wild Earth that he owns with wife, Avril. He adds that he hails originally from California, came to Australia after a stint in New Zealand, and now lives in Noosa.

Quintin has had an interesting life. His CV includes blackjack dealing, sea urchin diving in California and abalone diving in New Zealand. He currently wears two hats: one as a Kiwi vigneron and the other as a commercial coral trout fisher up Gladstone way. ‘I commute a lot.’ he confides, dryly.

Central Otago, he tells me, is marginal grape growing country. Situated virtually on the 45th parallel it is the southernmost winegrowing region on the planet.

‘It’s very dry and windswept, with extremes of temperature. We can get frost in December and January and snow in March and April. One day it’s 40 (centigrade) next day it’s only six. Consequently, we get highly variable vintages. Our growing season, for example, is two to three weeks shorter than Marlborough’s.

‘We make around 12000 cases of pinot annually and 1500 of white. Most of this goes to the USA and we’ve got a growing market in the UK. Australia though is a much smaller market for us – but after only one year it’s developing well.’

Finally, I ask Quintin what style he’s aiming for with his pinot. ‘Well, full-bodied. I’d like it to be a bit Burgundian, but it’s always going to be a New Zealand wine, expressing our local terroir.’

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