Erica, a South African medical scientist graduate, met Kim, the kiwi winemaker. They fell in love and together built one of the most successful global wine brands. They’re about to do it all over again … but wait, this time it’s a bit different!
After Rory, Pia and the success story of Kim Crawford Wines, Loveblock is Erica and Kim’s fourth child and the result of their love and respect for each other, the land, wine and the industry they’ve both worked in for decades now.
So what sets Loveblock apart from previous wine-ventures?
Let’s find out from Erica directly in the following Q&A…
What do you do?
Loveblock is wholly owned by Kim and I, so one tends to do a wide spectrum of things. We own and operate some 100 hA of vineyard land, run an integrated organic farm, make wine and take it to market. We control the entire process. Specifically, I manage the business (CEO in formal terms, if you like) and am in charge of sales, market development, marketing, and I have a specific hands on interest in the vineyards.
I am two papers away from completing my Post Grad Diploma in Viticulture. I can safely say that I have done most things in the wine cycle apart from winemaking – I got that covered.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
I like the early morning and tend to get up around 6am, have a quiet cup of tea, clear the “Yes, No, Maybe” emails, check out the world online. I am often desk bound, but like to get out to the vineyards often. I also travel a lot. Loveblock is a young brand and these initial stages of market development are crucial.
Number of years in the wine industry
Research Assistant at the Ischaemic Heart Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
Why did you decide to work in the wine industry?
We had two babies 13 months apart, we started Kim Crawford Wines mainly because of that, I couldn’t go back to my corporate job and a wine brand married our skills nicely. The rest is history.
What would you do if you wouldn’t work in the wine industry?
Probably something to do with biochemistry – laboratory or pharma industry. It really shaped my thinking as a young person.
What’s so special about New Zealand wines?
Its unashamed, glorious varietal expression is quite special.
What’s the story behind Loveblock wines?
I guess Loveblock is the product of my journey to organics, which started about 15 years ago. It is a privilege to really live ones values. I am really proud of what we have achieved to date, it hasn’t always been easy.
My vision for Loveblock is that of an integrated organic farm where we not only grow grapes, but also produce organic grass-fed beef and so on. We run a herd of Angus cattle which will soon start their conversion to organic certification (they have to be born on the farm). We have a substantial composting facility, as we do not use commercial fertiliser on the organic vineyards. There are chickens and magnificent vegetable and so on .
We are working towards converting further vineyards to organic certification. It is a long and demanding process. We have been practicing for 10 years now and have learnt a lot, but every little patch of land has its own demands and character.
What sets your wines apart?
Our wines tend to be more constrained vs the classic Marlborough style, with firm focus on mouth feel rather than big aromatics.
If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
I love Japanese, Vietnamese & Cambodian food. All call for Riesling!
Share a fact about yourself that only a few know
I was an international athlete. Basketball.
Hidden gems and favourite spots in your region
Standing on top of the hill at Loveblock looking south over the Awatere Valley, with its beautiful texture and quiet beauty, then gazing east towards the Cook Straight. There my troubles lift and leave me, albeit only until I head down the hill again.
What’s on your bucket list?
Write the “Kim Crawford Wines” story. Travel to far-flung places, taste as many flavours as I can.
Last book read
Woman in the Window by A J Finn. A fabulous read, I killed it on the plane rides between Toronto and Auckland. Could not put it down.
Advice on buying wine
Buy what you like, drink what you like! Price does not always indicate quality.