Meet Belinda Gould

Meet Belinda Gould

Name: Belinda Gould

Belinda Gould was born in Waipara, New Zealand and graduated with a diploma of Horticulture from Lincoln University. After several stints around New Zealand and in California, Gould is now the winemaker and joint viticulturist (with Miranda Brown) at Muddy Water in Waipara, New Zealand. In the October issue of the Grapegrower & Winemaker we find out what inspires Gould, and what she believes is New Zealand's wine industry's biggest challenge.

What inspired you to become a winemaker?
It was a happy accident, I got into the cellar by chance but I love the excitement of being in the winery and watching the fruit develop.

Who do you think is the most influential person in the New Zealand wine industry today - who inspires you most?
I'm inspired by loads of people - mostly people who are really working on growing grapes and making wines (typically organic wines) that really reflect the vineyard. Blair and Gareth from Felton Road, Nick from Rippon, Mike and Claudia from Pyramid Valley, Marcel and Sherwyn from Bell Hill, James from Millton (of course) and Alan from Stonecroft to name a few. Also Lou Preston, from Preston Vineyards and Amigo Cantisano from California.

Which of your wines do you most enjoy making, and why?
That's like which of your children do you love best! Pinot is special and very hard to nail - Riesling seems to more malleable (tries harder) and I love drinking good Chardonnay.

What is your favourite time of year in the winery, and why?
I love harvest because it's so exciting, and spring when the malos start and late summer when the wines in barrel are really starting to show what they'll be like - it's like the transition from teenager to adult!

Tell us about your most memorable wine-tasting experience.
A Chardonnay - Domaine de la Bon Gran - I had it in the SW of France and it was just so unexpected.

What do you like to do when you're not making wine?
Be at home in my garden with my family.

What keeps you awake at night?
My beloved! Sometimes I have nightmares about leaving a pump on or the chiller playing up and freezing a tank of Riesling.

How do you de-stress after vintage?
Last year I biked the Central Otago Rail Trail in the ice and snow with my son and two winemaker friends - one of whom organised for good wine and beer to be shipped ahead to our accommodation - that was fun (thanks Jen). Maybe a hike this year.

What styles or varieties do you see dominating wine production in New Zealand in the future?
Hopefully good wine that reflects the vineyard and the region rather than clever winemaking and too much oak.

What was the last big-ticket equipment purchase you made in your winery? Would you recommend the equipment to colleagues?
We don't buy too many big ticket items these days (I guess tanks don't count) - probably the conveyor and I would recommend that to anyone.

What has been the best business decision made at Muddy Water?
The best business decision made by the owners since I have been at Muddy Water I think has been the committed change to organics and as a result organic certification. This is really a natural progression for us but by committing and going through the certification process we are giving ourselves more credibility.

Which export markets are of most interest to you for your wines, and what do you think is the key thing that will help you succeed in that market?
Export has a lot of variables - we export to the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, the US, Australia, Singapore, with small amounts to some other markets - they all have their ups and downs. The upside is travelling to those markets and tasting Muddy Water wine there, it's a bit like a slide show from the vineyard but it tastes better.

What do you think of wine shows?
We don't do shows so I don't know anything about the system - we're not trying to make wine that shows up in a line-up of 200 wines.

What do you think is New Zealand's wine industry's biggest challenge and what is your solution to the problem?
Industrial wine - it's good for turning people on to wine - but big wineries trying to dress themselves up as boutique vineyards just don't have a soul. But on the other hand perhaps only a small part of the market wants wine with a soul.

The Ark question. The world is flooding... which two wines (white and red) would you take onto the Ark?
The Domaine de la Bon Gran of course. For the red, something organic. I'll take an L. Preston from Preston Vineyards - it's a Rhone blend - with a soul.

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