Big time New Zealand winemaker going back to his roots with small batch winemaking
- Ben is an award-winning winemaker who made truly yummy wines for some of New Zealand's biggest brands, but he really missed making small batches of artisan wine from his family vines.
- Angel funding lets him do just that, so we've got a couple small batches of Pinot Noir and Chard (the same varieties that earned him accolades at Wither Hills) and everything gets the royal treatment, every little detail attended to with care and love just short of giving each individual grape a first and last name
- Ben's a specialist at New Zealand Pinot Noir and Chardonnay - his wines are the golden standard for the entire country!
Ben Glover's Story
"I am a 40-something battered, resigned and cash-poor father who can never find his iPad or phone as my 4 free-range kiwi kids aged 6, 7,9 and 11 have stolen them and are playing minecraft.
Luckily to balance this i have been able to hold onto my gorgeous wife Susie for over 15 yrs who keeps a vigilant eye on the brood as well as myself.
I grew up on a farm, it was about observation, being practical, wide open spaces - I loved it. We converted the dairy farm to vineyard in 1988, so one minute i was feeding out, the next minutes we are planting grapes and weeding young vines. This coincided with heading away to school and University in Christchurch and part way through a Marketing Degree i was employed at a Wine Shop which ensured I didn't study too hard and kept mates imbibed.
I kept up with the vineyard work at home, and made my mind up to do a post graduate viticulture and oenology degree at Lincoln University which i completed in 1994.
With our family planting vineyards in 1988 and having a close involvement with Highfield Estate through these formative years I was already really involved in the local wine industry, I got to cruise around doing vintages in:
Sonoma Valley -Simi Winery with Zelma Long and Nic Goldschmit
Cape Mentelle- Western Australia - David Hohnen
Cantele Agricole - Apuliga Italy -Kim Milne as flying winemaker
Hunters wines-MLB - NZ
Villa Maria-Auckland - NZ
As well as doing vintages and loving it due to its practical nature i knew i needed to also train up on the ‘Lab’ side of winemaking so i worked and managed Pacific Rim Oenolgy Services a wine laboratory -in Blenheim
It was here that i met Brent Marris and hooked up with him to run Wither Hills Vineyards Marlborough which i was winemaker, chief winemaker for 14 years until December 2012.
I am now the Accolade NZL wines -group winemaker which emcopasses the Mud House and Waipara Hills Brands. I am also involved in Glover Family Vineyards our own family wine business of which Zephyr Wine is the deal here - www.zephyrwine.com
I love that in winemaking, no season nor year is the same I enjoy living in the grey. You can't be black and white when working in an agricultural sector - you need to be humble and flexible when working with land/fruit/weather and climate and people.
I think wine has to enter the room unannounced on the quiet and be able to meld into the crowd - it is there only to enhance the occasion - not to be the main show. That is how I try to make my wine.
My favorite grapes are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - a perfect paring for anyone, any situation, any conversation, and any match.
These two varieties complete a gathering and can bring together all sorts of disparate beings displaying a veritable potpourri of opinions.
Chardonnay often the bastardised of the 2 is often mediocre and tells little of its place due to artificial manipulation by lack of understanding and fruit from areas where it does not portray it's naturally commanding sense of style, poise, succulence, and line.
Pinot noir - what can I say - the more shy, retiring type, equally elegant, honest and true to its place and where it came from, unafraid to show all it's magic to those showing a willingness to learn and strength of patience to see where Pinot Noir can take you.
New Zealand's Marlborough region can deliver to these two varieties much of what we search for in a moment with wine - both give line, generosity, structure and drinkablility. They are neither fat, broad, soapy, or sloppy. The Marlborough climate provides a fantastic setting to deliver stunning Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (forget Sauvignon Blanc!) - simply a perfect couple to take out with you for the evening.
I've had a lot of wonderful moments making wine...
Be-Jesus - there have been a few - what about the first fruit in each vintage - it gets the buzz going with the team, makes us all get in the zone, making the first call of the vintage, seeing the ripe fruit on the vine - looking awesome!
Or from an accolade POV - I have done pretty well with a few varieties out of New Zealand under a few prominent labels - Champion Wine of Show Air New Zealand Wine Awards - Pinot Noir 1999. Champion Sauvignon Blanc 2000, through to Cuisine magazine #1 Sauvignon Blanc 2013, and UK based International Wine Competition Champion Pinot Noir 2013, to finish Champion Riesling 2013 at the International Riesling Challenge 2014 being the most recent.
But really the memorable parts of making the wine are the people that I have had the pleasure to be involved and had fun with!
Like travelling with fellow Naked Wine Guru - Rod Easthope - on a train from Lecce to Bologna (Italy) in 1995 to see the All Blacks rugby test match - a 10 hour train trip no seats, standing outside the trains toilet drinking far too young Barolo from plastic cups - the locals called us Loco!!!!!!!!!!
Angel funding is opening up the next step in the journey, enabling me to create a start up venture of my own branding which provides quality wine to the angels. I would love to see it grow so that we can afford to pay for the kids dancing fees and rugby boots."
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