Dave Sutton is one of the driving forces behind the Lloyd family’s vision to create a sustainable estate that reflects Central Otago’s beauty and unpretentious quality of the land and lifestyle. As Te Kano’s Winemaker and General Manager, Dave not only crafts a range of premium Central Otago wines but has also been tasked to help leave a positive legacy for future generations of the Lloyd family.
Having secured a substantial amount of vineyard sites throughout the region, Te Kano Estate is only getting started. Their Nortburn site is celebrating its first harvest this year and an impressive tasting room, events space and office complex is currently being constructed in the iconic Bannockburn sub-region. I have a feeling we’ll hear a lot more Dave and his team in the future.
Let’s find out more about him in the following Q&A….
What’s your background?
I studied winemaking directly after high school and started travelling as soon as I graduated from that. I worked all around the wine world before settling down in Central Otago, where I have been for the past 8 years.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
The truth is there is no typical working day! Te Kano is a relatively new wine company which is rapidly carving a niche for itself, so a days work might involve planting a vineyard, working with the sales and marketing team, travelling and selling wine, or tasting and blending at the winery.
Every month we hit a new milestone, and that brings a great number of challenges and opportunities into the workplace.
When and why did you fall in love with wine?
My lightbulb wine moment happened at Magill Estate – Penfolds premium winery in Adelaide. We had tasted through the range and were getting ready to leave when the winemaker came in with a 100 year old fortified they had recently ‘rediscovered’ in the dusty depths of the barrel hall.
That port blew me away – the depth and complexity of flavour, the reverence with which each minuscule amount was poured and savoured, and the fact that the legacy of the maker is still alive today.
If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
I would aspire to be a fine Red Burgundy. Muscular and powerful, while remaining elegant and aging gracefully for many years.
What’s the favourite wine you’ve made to date?
Well, I’ve made a few. Definitely Te Kano Chardonnay is the most fun to make. With only half a hectare of vines, and a small amount of wine each year, it is really easy to see the impact of trying new things – new viticulture and winemaking techniques, the effect of different barrels and approaches. It offers the chance to shine a light into the things you do as a winemaker and challenge a few assumptions.
Share a fact about yourself that only a few know
I have no middle name. As the youngest of six kids, I think my parents ran out of inspiration when I came on the scene.
Things you still want to do – what’s on your bucket list?
I would love to work in Champagne. The opportunity came up in 2013 and I just couldn’t get the time away from the winery here. It’s something I have always regretted, and hope to tick off the list.
Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
I never met either of my grandfathers – both of whom passed away tragically young. I would definitely love to share a glass or two with them.