Matakana wine scene
According to winemaker James Graham, there is a ‘real authenticity’ underpinning the Matakana wine scene. The Matakana wine growers an impassioned group of people putting their heart and soul into what they do.
James studied viticulture (the science of grapes) and oenology (the science of winemaking) at Lincoln University, before spending the late 90s vintage-hopping between Oregon, South Africa and Europe. ‘Every vintage is different, and in every place you discover a new mindset, even if you’re doing a simple job. Wine is a shared passion, so passing on information and knowledge is part of the experience.’
James came home in late 1999, taking a job in Marlborough where he met his wife Phuong, who was running a wine laboratory. The pair moved to Matakana in 2004, where James acts as a consultant to a number of boutique vineyards, as well as wineries in West Auckland and Marlborough.
Ambitions for our Matakana wine
Where major wine regions are often known for a single variety driven by commercial imperatives, James says Matakana wine growers and winemakers have more personal ambitions. ‘Some might want a vineyard in a valley or overlooking the sea. Others love wines from the Rhône or Bordeaux.’
While the production scale is smaller, some things remain the same.
‘Matakana vineyards are boutique and hand-picked, but you’ve still got the same pressures – ripeness, weather, the logistics of picking and making the best wine you can.’