Ben Glover, Wither Hills, NZ

Name: Ben Glover
Place of birth: Blenheim, Marlborough
Professional qualifications: B.Com & Post Grad Dip Winemaking & Viticulture
Professional experience: Ten vintages as Winemaker Wither Hills Vineyards Have also worked in Sonoma, California. Puglia, Italy. Burgundy & Western Australia.
Current job title, winery & region: Chief winemaker, Wither Hills Vineyards Ltd, Marlborough, NZ

Which of your wines do you most enjoy making, and why?
It would have to be Pinot Noir. It is a grape that is forever seeking to humble you. It is fickle and shows all its warts. It is a wine that you cannot hide faults or weakness. Yet when it is good, when it is great, it is hedonistic, it is fragrant, perfumed, supple, elegant, in a powerful way. A truly stunning experience.

Tell us about your most memorable wine-tasting experience…
Being part of the inaugural Len Evans Tutorial in 2001, simply put a magical experience, led by a visionary supplying invaluable wisdom, enthusiasm, discipline about the appreciation of 'great wines'

As a winemaker, what could you not do without - besides grapes, of course?
The palate.

What is the most important piece of equipment in your winery?
The Ipod.

What styles or varieties do you see dominating wine production in New Zealand over the next 10 years?
From a NZ varietal stance, it is Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Blanc, with other key varieties such as Pinot Noir, Riesling, Merlot, Syrah, along with other aromatics coming a strong second from the individual climates that best suit the variety. With regard to Sauvignon Blanc there will be differentiation of styles, from Sancerre, to single vineyard wines. This will give the whole Sauvignon Blanc category width.

Which non-traditional varieties interest you and why?
Italian varietals, I fell in love with the wines in 1995 when I worked in Puglia, seeing Primitivo, Negromara along with Nebbiolo, Barbera, Corvina, Sangiovese, and understanding the way flavour, tannin, and structure of these wines, just 'suited' the whole Italian Culture.

What do you like to do when you're not making wine?
Being with my Wife; Susie and children George, Molly & Hazel in the Marlborough Sounds.

The world is about to flood and a specially-designed, temperature-controlled ark is being built to preserve the world's best wines. You've been asked to recommend a red and a white for the ark, what do you choose? (Sorry, you can't choose your own wines!)
Domaine Leflaive 1983 Chevalier-Montrachet. Gaja 1990 Barolo Sperss.

If you weren't a winemaker, how would you be making a living?
Cheesemaker & pig farmer (feed them walnuts)

What keeps you awake at night?
The kids.

What is the best piece of advice you could offer a person in their last year of winemaking study?
If you have not done 'vintage', do it - and stay till Christmas (Southern Hemisphere). Then, if you still like it, go to Europe for a year!

Why did you become a winemaker?
I went Lincoln Uni to do a Viticulture Degree and ended up on the other side. I think winemaking encompasses the practical, the technical but also the creativeness of a person, so for me it is a great balance.

Who has inspired you during the course of your career?
Seeing and working every year with the new 'vintage team' at Wither Hills, it is such a buzz to see these young, (and not so young) people achieving and discovering what they can do under pressure, and also what they bring to the Wither Hills permanents to keep us all fresh and invigorated with ideas & enthusiasm.

Which area of current wine or vine research do you think is most beneficial to the industry?
For New Zealand I think the current research on Sauvignon Blanc and its flavour & aroma profile and the precursors is critical in understanding why Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc has a uniqueness.

Is there an area of research towards which you would like to see more resources directed?
What makes Consumers decide what bottle of wine they want?

Other feature articles

AB Mauri



WID 2017