A South Australian local, Greg grew up surrounded by wine culture from day dot and earned a Bachelor of Oenology from the University of Adelaide with First Class Honours. From there he honed his craft at Shaw and Smith in Adelaide, France, Italy and the United States before being drawn back to Marlborough to take up the reins at Grove Mill. Highly regarded amongst the Winemaking community, Greg was named New Zealand Young Winemaker of the Year in 2018. He is committed to continuing the Mt Difficulty legacy, establishing the wines as a true benchmark of Central Otago, and indeed new world Pinot Noir.
What have you been loving the most so far about being the winemaker at Mt Difficulty?
Getting stuck into a new challenge, I really enjoy it. We have also made changes out in the vineyard which I am really excited about with some re-plantings at Target Gully and Long Gully, with a new clone 828 going in the ground. It will be 3 years before we see some fruit from it but it promises to be a really interesting addition to these wines.
What is inspiring you at the moment with your winemaking?
I am always inspired by Pinot Noir winemaking in New Zealand. As the industry and vineyards get older, winemakers are gaining more and more confidence to stand back and let their vineyards shine through in the wines. I think that is what excites me, when I feel like I can picture exactly what the vineyard looks like and where its grown when I taste a wine. Also, I am drinking a lot of Chenin Blanc at the moment, particularly from South Africa, so am excited to have a crack at making one come vintage 2022.
What is it about Central Otago, and Bannockburn specifically that creates great Pinot Noir?
Lots of factors. Starts with the climate – northly aspect so we get consistent warmth and sun throughout the season. The soils in Bannockburn as somewhat unique as they are generally older than the rest of the region, with a higher clay content. This gives the vines more of a footing to develop the depth of flavour and plushness as well as savoury elements that we love in Bannockburn. It is also really varied within the subregion, so it gives us a real variety of plots and parcels from which to blend our Bannockburn wines that gives us greater complexity in the finished wines.
What is your favourite Mt Difficulty wine going into the warmer seasons?
I’m into the Target Riesling at the moment. I’m a real sucker for off dry Riesling when the temp gauge starts to climb. Juicy, thirst quenching and all too easy to go back for another one!
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