Not everyone sees an abandoned vineyard full of waist-high weeds and thinks ‘award-winning winery’, but that’s what ran through the minds of Catherine Keith and her father Tony Rutherfurd when they stumbled upon their first vineyard in 2002. The small site in the heart of Waipara was just the beginning of Mount Brown Estates, which now boasts three vineyards and a winery which turn out trophy-winning wines aplenty.
A small team with big ambitions, the family and staff behind Mount Brown Estates wines all have a shared passion for producing stunning wines. Their entire process – from harvesting through to bottling the wine – is kept in-house to ensure the highest quality is maintained throughout. Woven throughout all that they do is a commitment to sustainability and a love of their land.
They regularly win gold medals for their Pinot Noir and Riesling but it’s their Pinot Gris which is putting them on the map. The grapes are grown right beside the winery and according to Catherine, Pinot Gris has found its natural home in the North Canterbury Wine Region.
Why North Canterbury? The long dry summers make it a great spot to grow grapes – Waipara Valley in particular as it is sheltered from the cool easterly sea breezes. All our vineyards are on old riverbeds which have the free draining soils grape vines love.
What’s your favourite thing to do in North Canterbury? Getting outdoors, I love that we can ski one day and be at the beach the next. And there are fabulous mountain biking trails in between.
Name your top three North Canterbury food and beverage brands (other than your own!): The Bone Line (I love their Cabernet Franc), Coffee Worx coffee, Terrace Edge olive oil.