Douglas Renall, author of 100 Great New Zealand Wineries, has walked the vineyards, searched the cellars and talked with winemakers and vineyard managers in New Zealand to gather fascinating insights about their viticulture methods, oenology practices and the people who work long days in the vineyards and equally long nights in the cellars.
He collated his experiences in his latest book, 100 Great New Zealand Wineries, choosing wineries not only for the quality of the wine produced, but also for their history, cellar-door atmosphere, awards won and the impact the winery has had at home and abroad.
Find out more about Douglas’ latest book and his love with wine in our latest Q&A:
When and why did you fall in love with wine?
My love for wine was more gradual than an instant moment. My affection for wine started while
growing up in west Auckland where vineyards and wineries are in plenty. My grandparents lived on a vineyard and I would go to visit them on weekends with my family and play amongst the vines.
Years later I felt the tug towards the wine industry in my early 20’s after travelling around Europe
where I was introduced to the cultures of Germany, Italy and France. At the age of 24 on a
summer’s evening in Sweden, I was tasting a range of European red wines and right then and
there I knew I would someday become a winemaker and work in the wine industry around the
If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
I would say a Saint Julien or Margaux Bordeaux blend. A wine that is made for ageing. A late
bloomer. A wine that shines years down the track when all the elements of the wine come together in harmony.
Which wine are you saving for a special occasion?
The wine is actually in barrel! the wine is Chateau Leoville Barton Vintage 2017 – the vintage was great and the wine will always be one I will save for that special occasion.
Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
My grandfather who loved wine and who passed away before I went on my winemaking journey.
My ever patient and loving mum and my caring girlfriend.
Share a fact about yourself that only a few know
I was once an adventure junkie – I jumped off the sky tower, did the bungy jump off Kawarau
Bridge in Queenstown and jumped out of a plane in quick succession.
What’s your favourite New Zealand wine region?
I think each wine region in New Zealand has its own unique charisma but if I was to pick one it
would have to be Hawke’s Bay.
Hawke’s Bay has it all in my opinion – top Bordeaux reds, Burgundy whites, Rhone reds, a great food scene, beaches and countryside. I was fortunate enough to study and work there for 6 years.
Advice visiting wineries
Don’t try to visit too many wineries at once. Pick a few each day and stay a while. Walk the
vineyards, feel the soil, try the cuisine and taste the wines slowly.
What’s your motivation behind 100 Great New Zealand Wineries?
My motivation behind the book was to see all of New Zealand’s wine regions and visit the top
producers New Zealand has to offer. I wanted to see why they were the best wineries in the
country and meet the people who have shaped our wine industry. All this I wanted to share with the rest of New Zealand as well as for visitors to our beautiful country.
I believe the book is designed to stir feelings of wanderlust in people. If you are looking for
guidance and inspiration for a memorable wine trip around New Zealand then you need this book.
Douglas Renall’s latest book is now available at selected book stores or online (RRP $59.99).