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New Zealand’s First Masterclass for Home Winemakers?

New Zealand’s First Masterclass for Home Winemakers?

Wine enthusiasts, as well as new and seasoned home winemakers, can learn the secrets of the profession from veteran vintner Justin Oliver.

Oliver is from Matakana’s famous Mt Tamahunga Vineyard and has over 20 years industry winemaking experience at wineries throughout New Zealand and in California. He is also Senior Cidermaker at Zeffer Cider and has distilled professionally. Oliver is in the throes of launching his own wine brand, Free Range Wine Co, specialising in premium wine on tap.

The Syrah grapes that Mt Tamahunga make into $50 a bottle wine can also be pre-purchased from to be collected at the masterclass. The supply is very limited this year – and will be sold on a first in first served. Mt Tamahunga vineyard is one of oldest in the area. It was first planted by the Vuletic brothers for the famous Antipodean Farm wine label of the 1980's. People may remember a 5-litre bottle of this Bordeaux-styled red selling for $5000 at auction. Those were the days! The Syrah vines were planted in 2004 by new owners, for the premium Mt Tamahunga wine label.

The 2013 and 2014 harvests are destined for Justin’s Free Range Wine Co. label. The vineyard has been managed under an organic conversion regime for the last year, so has received minimal chemical sprays. The 2014 vintage promises to be one of the best on record.

“Those who enjoy a great wine may not be aware they can make a fairly comparable product, armed with some basic knowledge, quality grapes and equipment as basic as a bucket” says Karen q Temple of; the masterclass’ organiser. “I would encourage anyone who would like to try making their own wine to come along to the masterclass and give it a try”.

Many of’s customers make “country” or “hedgerow “wines; from fruit, vegetables and various random ingredients like gorse flowers & rose petals. It can be difficult to source winemaking grapes but Temple says she has noticed a spike in growers interested in supplying grapes to home winemakers this year. Whilst fruit wine can be delicious, wine made from winemaking grapes is easier to make and results in a product much closer to what people might expect to buy at their local wine store or supermarket.

Oliver and Temple’s vision is to grow this small event into an annual symposium possibly with multiple workshops, tastings, behind the scenes winery tours and a home winemaker’s competition.

What: Home winemaking masterclass
Where: Mt Tamahunga Vineyard, Matakana
When: Saturday 19th April 2014
Cost: $20 or free with purchase of grapes
Where to buy:


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