Meet your maker: Si from Thornbury

I got recently asked who’s my favourite winemaker and it has to be Si – Simon Fell of Thornbury Wines. He is not only a hell of a nice guy, he also makes a range of exceptional wines. I’ve recommended his Waipara Pinot Gris to friends so many times now that the supermarket shelves should be empty!

But enough from me, let’s find out more about Si – the “Lallaboy” of the New Zealand wine industry!

Number of years in the industry
22 years of living the dream.

First job
My first real job was with Air NZ Flight Kitchen. I was one of the employees responsible for ensuring you got fed on your flight. All those lovely meals you enjoyed between 1989-1990 think of me.

If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
Interesting question. Stripping down my persona I probably would want to be a Pinot Noir. A wine which  often displays lively aromatics, freshness and complexity but also a restrained underlying power with elegance and finesse.

I am not sure what this says about me but I’ll leave it to you to interpret.

What would you do if you wouldn’t be a winemaker?
Probably a wannabe celebrity chef. As I am really interested in the challenge of creating flavours and making something that people get enjoyment from.

Why did you decide to work in the wine industry?
After my O.E in Europe I returned to New Zealand with great memories of drinking wine (cheap wine mind you). That seeded the thought of a career in winemaking. It was a very good time to get involved as the New Zealand industry was just starting to really take off in the export market.

Favourite wine
Well for me personally it would have to be Pinot Noir. Have been very fortunate to drink a few great wines over the years but DRC (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Burgundy) leaves a very fond memory.

Which wine are you saving for a special occasion?
Every day of life is an occasion so the wine I drink with friends and family are to be savoured and enjoyed.

New Zealand wine is special because …
Our unique location in the world creates wines of freshness, purity and a sense of place.

Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
I once experienced while living in Napa, matching a very expensive bottle of Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon with Taco Bell. Something I am sure they would not want to put on their tasting note.

It was a paring not to be missed.

Share a fact about yourself that only a few know
My childhood nick name from my siblings was “Lallaboy” short for love a boy. I was a loving child.

Hidden gems and favourite spots in Auckland
West Coast beaches any time of the year. “Ralphs” restaurant in Eden Terrace – great music, awesome Louisiana fried chicken and an extensive craft beer and wine list.

Things you still want to do
To many to list here. But one at the top would be to die knowing I had no regrets.

Last book read
Command and Control – Insights into the US nuclear arsenal.

Advice on buying wine
Buy what you like.

Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
My grandfather as I was too young to drink when he passed away.

Social media channels you’d like to share
Sip of course. Marissa Ross twitter account is worth a look (say no more)!

Cheers, Si. Now head over to Thornbury’s website and check out their lovely range of wines. You can also follow Si and his team on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram & Pinterest.


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