Organic Wine Producer Erica Crawford Gains Global Praise
Scientist turned organic wine producer Erica Crawford gains global praise from UK news agency Reuters
Former medical researcher turned wine producer, Erica Crawford traded in her test tubes and petri dishes for a life of grapes and green pastures on Marlborough’s Awatere Valley. Now owner of Loveblock Wines, Erica has been successful in the move to organic and sustainable winemaking in New Zealand – something that’s gained her international recognition.
Award-winning financial journalist Chris Taylor of global news agency Reuters recently featured Crawford in his column, where she was described as “one of the world’s most notable winemakers”.
The article, titled First Jobs: A toast to how winemakers got their starts, has received incredible interest internationally. It was picked up by U.S News & World Report and The Fiscal Times, publications which reach a combined total of more than 70 million online views per month.
Highlighting her role as co-founder of Kim Crawford Wines and Loveblock Wines in New Zealand, the piece features Erica alongside such prominent wine professionals as Janet Myers (Director of winemaking, Franciscan Estate in California), Pauline Lhote (Lead winemaker, Domaine Chandon in California) and Paul Clifton (Director of winemaking, Hahn Family Wines in California).
Crawford attributes much of her success to the skills and lessons she gained from a career that took many twists and turns before ending up on the windy, elevated hilltop overlooking Marlborough’s Awatere Valley where Loveblock was born.
Prior to entering the world of wine, Erica started out as an aspirational scientist in cardiac medicine in South Africa. During this time, Crawford says she realised she was “more interested in participating in the breath and heartbeat of life itself” than studying medical journals.
Crawford later went on to work in sales for a pharmaceutical company which she describes as a very humbling experience that taught her the value of human relationships and trust in business. “I learnt that everything in business is ultimately based on relationships. No matter what field you are in, the lesson is always the same – the human relationships you build are the most important.”
After moving to New Zealand in 1989, she and husband Kim first began making wine under their own label Kim Crawford in 1996. Now renowned veterans of the New Zealand wine industry, their first export was to the U.S in late 1997.
The pair later sold the business in 2006, but were lured back five years later by an untamed parcel of land on a hillside in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley which showed potential for making wines that exemplify the “true and naked terroir” of the region.
On the 85 Hectare farm has several vineyards that the couple planted singular varietal grapes but reserved one block for experimentation, and for the ‘love’ wine.
“As the name on the label indicates, a lot of what we do at Loveblock is for love and from love of wine,” says Erica.
“We are devoted to organic farming and experimentation. We are pleased to be able to produce unique, small crops from this challenging growing environment on the top of the hill, to see what this different microclimate offers, and make wine with grapes we have not grown before. It has not always been easy.”
In addition to managing Loveblock, Erica studies Post Grad Viticulture part-time which she says is “wonderfully useful and satisfying but jolly hard”. She is also a member of the Advisory Board of NZ-US Council and Global Women NZ, a collaboration of New Zealand’s most influential women leaders, promoting inclusion and diversity for improved societal and economic growth and last year, was inducted to the Entrepreneurial Women Hall of Fame.
Erica also works with young people and has several casual mentees in NZ, the US and Australia.
An unrelenting passion for winemaking and a strong belief in ethical farming are the founding principles behind Loveblock. For owners Kim and Erica Crawford, it's about evoking the essence of their terroir to the best of their ability while keeping their environment - a treasured and formidable 85-hectare landscape in Marlborough's Awatere Valley. Loveblock makes a collection of earth-loving organic and sustainable wines.
For more visit www.loveblockwine.com