Q&A with Montana NZ Collection Winemaker, Laura-Kate Morgan

Laura-Kate Morgan

I’m excited to see Montana back on the shelves here in New Zealand. Although I wasn’t brought up with this iconic kiwi wine brand which was originally founded in 1934, I certainly remember the public outcry when it had to take a step back for Brancott Estate in 2010.

In true Sip fashion, we’d love to introduce you to Laura-Kate Morgan, the talented maker of Montana’s NZ Collection via a Q&A today, followed by a closer look at the new range of iconic kiwi wines and a fun wine personality quiz. Let’s get into it…

Hi Laura-Kate, please tell us a bit about your job
I’m a winemaker for Montana Wines, one of the original wine brands of New Zealand. It’s a creative job, and my team and I are responsible for managing and maintaining wine styles, driving wine quality, wine specifications and keeping our fingers on the pulse in terms of innovative wine making processes.

What does a typical working day look like for you?
There’s no such thing as a typical day within the wine industry, there’s always more than enough to keep me busy. However, every day starts with a good cup of coffee! Then a day’s work might involve tasting and blending, managing wine specifications, assessing lab trials, attending meetings – all
whilst trying to clear my inbox.

The typical working day varies depending upon time of year and the operations required in the winery, it’s like one giant wheel that keeps on turning.

If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
A natural wine, perfectly, imperfect. Unrefined and unfiltered but always interesting, even if judgement is a touch cloudy. A ‘label’ that offers creative flare, a little unpredictable but always fun.

Within the Montana portfolio, I would be the Montana NZ Collection Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough born and bred with roots entrenched in this little patch of New Zealand. It’s, fresh, vibrant and packs a punch!

Why did you become a winemaker?
I was brought up in Marlborough on a small farm / vineyard on the outskirts of town, so I’ve always enjoyed the land and what it produces – I find it fascinating.

Throughout school I loved graphic design and arts and the idea of creating something unique that people can enjoy resonated with me. I always thought I’d like to be a viticulturist, but after my first vintage in a winery I never looked back. The people, laughter, memories shared, and ultimately the final product is what continues to keep me fulfilled.

What’s the wine you’ve made to date that you’re most proud of?
Montana NZ Collection Sauvignon Blanc was a fascinating blend to see come together. The components for this blend had their own personalities throughout fermentation with bright crunchy herbaceous flavours and a striking minerality this wine is truly representative of its terroir. It is crisp, vibrant and wrapped with a stunning purity.

Share a fact about yourself that only a few know
I used to be an avid highland dancer and also represented my region in cricket!

Things you still want to do – what’s on your bucket list?
I’d love to learn how to play the piano, be fluent in a second language, hike Mount Tapuaenuku and continue to travel around regions of the world and get lost in the amazing cultures, sights and smells.

More realistically I’d like to continue to maintain my existing working relationships and build new ones, while continuing to learn and develop my winemaking skills.

Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
My Grandad that I never had the chance to meet. To sit down and share stories and learn a little about his life would be great.

Thank you so much for your time Laura-Kate!

Introducing Montana’s NZ Collection

Montana’s NZ Collection offers a celebration of New Zealand’s key varietals and styles and these wines are a particular good choice if you’re just starting your wine journey, guiding you via bold descriptors on the front labels.

Montana NZ Collection Wines

The range includes a “Crisp & Zingy” Sauvignon Blanc, “Delicate and Fruity” Rosé and “Smooth and Velvety” Pinot Noir from Marlborough and a “Big and Buttery” Chardonnay from Gisborne.

Although this concept isn’t new to kiwi shoppers and only two of New Zealand’s wine regions are represented, the range includes Kiwis’ fav drops dressed in fun yet elegant Kiwiana illustrations, from pavlova to the classic Kiwi summer BBQ, camping, jandals, riding moas … you get the idea!

Which Montana NZ Collection wine is right for you?

Choose a Montana NZ Collection wine via the bold descriptions this summer, or try one based on your personality type for a bit of fun!

Have a look at the personality traits below and choose a wine that matches your personality:

Rosé: Flirtatious, Trendy, Social
Chardonnay: Romantic, Relaxed, Generous
Sauvignon Blanc: Energetic, Chatty, Impatient
Pinot Noir: Honest, Ambitious, Serious

Let us know on Facebook or Instagram which wine type you are – we’d love to know!

The Montana NZ Classic range is now widely available at supermarkets throughout the country with an RRP of $19.99. Thanks to Pernod Ricard for sharing the Montana NZ Classic range with us!