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Winemakers Learn From The Pinot Noir Experts


Central Otago Winemakers Learn From The Pinot Noir Experts


Funding from the New Zealand-France Friendship Fund has assisted three Central Otago winemakers to immerse themselves in the history and culture of pinot noir during a recent six-week educational trip to Burgundy, France.

Assistant winemaker Todd Stevens of Quartz Reef Wines, Kurt Lindsay from Ian Cunliffe Contracting and Jeff Snape, vineyard supervisor of Three Miners Vineyards returned enthused and armed with a deeper understanding of the wine and where it originates from. The trip was part of an on-going learning exchange programme between the two regions.

They spent six weeks working in vineyards in the region as well as receiving a three-day introductory course at Centre de Formation Professionnelle et de Promotion Agricole (CFPPA), a viticulture technical institute in Beaune.

Todd Stevens thoroughly appreciated his experience and while he won’t be trying to replicate the wine, he has gained a greater understanding of what defines pinot noir, “There is no better place to learn this than in an area that has been producing the wine for hundreds of years. Their passion behind the wine runs deeper – their vines and history are just so much older.”

Nick Mills from Rippon Winery and an executive member of the Central Otago Winegrowers Association with Florence Zito of the CFPPA, instigated the inaugural exchange last year and both are delighted that the programme has continued. Nick believes the symbiosis between the regions underlines the importance and significance for its continuity.

“The exchange offers a great opportunity for these two wine regions, both renowned for their production of pinot noir - yet from entirely different contexts, to learn each other’s techniques and share in each other’s culture,” he said.

This second exchange trip to France was principally funded by the New Zealand-France Friendship Fund.

Students from the CFPPA will visit Central Otago for the harvest in April. The programme for the French students differs in that there is a greater focus on the technical and scientific approach to wine-making while Central Otago exchange members get a feel for traditional wine-making. Their trip will be funded by participating businesses and with some financial assistance from the Central Otago Winegrowers Association.

November 19 2007

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