Simon Groves - Winemaker

"I will briefly say that I studied and trained and worked in environments where the technical approach was the route to the best results. I worked for and with some truly outstanding winemaking brains, many of whom started tossing out some of the contents of the winemaking tool kit and becoming more of the new age father to their wines. The fun and the magic in wine in this "new age" is watching what unfolds before you. Not losing yourself in every step it took to get there and nudging it in the "right" direction constantly."
Contract Winemaking at Redbank Estate
Contract Winemaking at Redbank Estate

Best Wine in the World

Searching for a role as flying winemaker in 2006, Simon secured a position in Italy with Farnese Vini. The job was to work remotely, in the winery of Torre Gaia, located inland from Napoli.

This was an experience which went beyond the wine. A major part of the position was liaising with a variety of grape growers, covering a vast area of the Italian countryside. Straight from the corporate winemaking of Montana wines, to business being conducted over long rustic italian family lunches.

The Falanghina wine Simon made for Vesevo won the Decanter Magazine 'Best Italian White Wine' in 2007.
Simon in the lab - Italy 2006
Simon in the lab - Italy 2006

A Life of Wine

Simon's experience in the wine industry is vast and varied. From an introduction through retail at Rumbles in Wellington, Threshers in the UK, a vine nursery in Auckland, cellar work at Delegats followed by formal Wine Science training through Charles Sturt University.

His professional winemaking career started at Church Road in the Hawkes Bay, mentored by Tony Prichard, which then moved on to Montana Wines in Gisborne. Simon gained a reputation for his Bordeaux style reds and was held responsible for Saints Merlot Cabernet while at Montana.

Wanting to gain some international experience, Simon secured a position at Farnese Vini in Italy. Posted in a remote winery inland from Naples, Simon made the Alianico and Falanghina wines. The Falanghina later went on to become the Decanter Magazine 'top Italian White Wine' in 2007.

Returning to New Zealand, and while looking for somewhere to set up a wine business, a temporary position came up at Palliser Estate. Simon worked two vintages with Palliser before moving on to winery equipment sales through Winequip, while also co managing the Martinborough Wine Centre with Amanda.

After six years at the Martinborough Wine Centre, and three children later, the business was sold so Simon could focus on his profession as winemaker.

His current winemaking role is at Redbank Estate in Martinborough, and as chief winemaker for Terroir Wines wines.

Wine into bottle
Wine into bottle

View over Te Muna Road - Redbank Estate
View over Te Muna Road - Redbank Estate

Simon, Bella & Amanda - vintage 2010
Simon, Bella & Amanda - vintage 2010

The Winemakers Wife

My journey in wine started in 2005 when I met Simon (read more about that here). It was a swift crash course in wine from then on. Simon enrolled me in a WSET Intermediate course, at that stage my life of wine had been Gisborne Chardonnay. With a 'world of wine' in my sights we set off to Italy in 2006, posted onsite at the winery I spent evenings learning the basics of cellar work and during the day we traversed the countryside where Simon introduced the idea of terroir.

Back home to New Zealand were we settled in Martinborough and life went full throttle. In 2009 we were two months away from having our first child when we decided to take on the Martinborough Wine Centre. I thought this meant he would leave his job at Winequip, but no, the day we signed for it was the day he told me I was manager.

We were owners of the shop for 61/4 years. I almost birthed all three children on the shop floor while working! I loved the shop, it was my project, my crash course in business management and liken to my first born. We juggled family, work, our small lifestyle block full of farm animals and also managed to look after vineyards and make our wine too!

I enjoy many of the aspects the wine business from working hands on in the winery, the cellar work, business management, wine marketing and sales.

Martinborough Wine Centre
Martinborough Wine Centre

The day we sold the shop - with Milly May (2 days old)
The day we sold the shop - with Milly May (2 days old)