Proprietor & Chief Wine Maker | Ngatarawa Vineyards in New Zealand

How long have you been a wine maker?

30 years

Was making wine always your passion growing up?

No, I did a math degree, worked full time in the industry and fell in love with it.

What is your favorite savoury food paired with your Silks Syrah wine?

Pepper Steak

What is your favorite food paired with your Silks Sauvignon Blanc wine?

Seafood and salad

Which are your favorite wine festivals in the world? And why?

Vancouver for the people who attend know about wine and the festival is part commercial with wines on site for sale.

How long have you been involved in the wine industry?

37 years

What do you most love about the wine industry?

Full of opportunities and full of challenges, it is never boring. Always excersising your mind and abilities.

How long have you been exporting your wines?

Since 1986.

Why is your label called Silks?

Based after horse racing heritage of the vineyard.

Who are some of your mentors? What have you learned from them?

Family – learning a strong work ethic, perseverance, and appreciation of place of wine in society.

Where do like to go for wine travel?  Why?

1) France – Chably (winemakers from France come to New Zealand for mentoring)

2) Mosel River, Germany

What is your philosophy on food and wine?

They are natural partners and the real test of the wine is how well it sits at the dinner table.

Any comments you would like to add/make in relation to the state of the wine industry in New Zealand or globally?

New Zealand wine industry is still evolving, more to New Zealand story than the globe will hear about. Sauv Blanc is the leader, there are other varieties in other regions that are of world standing.

What is the future for your winery?

Developing international markets and in a premium position.

What are the top wines we would find in your cellar?

1)     Frogsleep Chardonnay (Napa)

2)     Yalumba Viognier (Australia)

3)     Te Mata Coleraine (New Zealand)

By: Richard Wolak