Who are our Future Makers?
We’re so excited to bring you another Future Makers event on the 2nd of July. We’ve teamed up with Ozone and a group of producers who not only shape what’s in our glass, but also the future of the drinks industry. We thought we’d take a moment to jot down the thinking behind the fantastic group of people lined up to pour for you.
As a retailer, we’ve got the easy part in all this, tasting wine, beer and spirits to find a bloody delicious selection of drinks for you. It’s something we’ve spent our whole careers involved with, and it comes second nature to us. But rather than just a tasty drink, we’re driven to find drinks that are made thoughtfully, with consideration for sustainability and the environment. It’s something that consumers are increasingly demanding from their purchases, and we love being a part of it. The premise of Future Makers is to celebrate producers who are committed to this.
It Ain’t Easy Out There
As the drinks industry becomes more crowded, sophisticated and segmented, the barrier to entry gets higher. For example, the idea of buying a piece of land suitable for viticulture, planting grapes and starting a winery is out of reach for many now, unless you have substantial financial backing. It’s not unlike the housing market at the moment in that respect. But resourceful, talented winemakers work around this, sourcing fruit, leasing vineyards and making use of contract winemaking facilities. It’s brave ingenuity, people having a go, and that’s what we want to support with Future Makers. In an age where everyone has a side hustle, we can easily identify with and respect this approach, especially when it’s executed with a thought for the environment.
Artists, Crafts People and Party Animals
For us, what we drink is inextricably linked to the people who make them. Winemakers, brewers and distillers are a fascinating bunch. They have creative flair, giving great consideration to what they want to express. They have a pragmatic sensibility, always assessing the technical detail of how a drink will be produced. And at the end of the day, they love getting together to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Putting a bunch of these producers in one room is a recipe for a good time. Future Makers is our opportunity for you to meet these kind folk and support what they do.
Starting Amoise in Hawkes Bay in 2018, Amy Farnsworth sources fruit from organic vineyards, producing expressive natural wines. They offer immediate drinking pleasure, with plenty to contemplate in the glass. As well as having incredible passion and enthusiasm, Amy’s depth of experience is amazing, having worked for the likes of Camille Giroud, Vietti, Alain Graillot, Marcel Lapierre, Brokenwood, Black Estate, Felton Road and Paritua.
The partnership of Clive Dougall and Peter Lorimer is the culmination of years of passion and experience. We first crossed paths with Peter in the late 2000’s in London, and followed his career representing great New Zealand producers around the globe. Meanwhile, Clive was winemaker at Seresin for 12 years, leading Marlborough’s way in organic and biodynamic production. The outcome of their partnership? Stylish, organic expressions of great Marlborough vineyards that leave you reaching for another glass.
A Greek Odyssey
A future maker in a different sense, our mate Kieran Clarkin started his import business, Cellar Days on his return from Melbourne. His main focus is bringing the best producers that Greece has to offer to New Zealand shores. Opening our minds, hearts and mouths to Greek wine has got Auckland sommeliers very excited. So it was only natural that we get him along to Future Makers. He’ll be pouring wines from two exceptional producers, Gaia and Naoussa.
Right from the first releases from Laurence Brand and his partner Rebecca Thorne, we knew we were onto something special. The couple moved back to New Zealand and set up a tiny winery in a Kauri shed overlooking the Waima Ranges in Northland. They source fruit from West Auckland and Hawkes Bay and make wines with minimal intervention. They’re certainly on our list of ones to watch!
Amy and Ollie Hopkinson-Styles met while Amy was winemaking in Spain, and Ollie was writing for Decanter Magazine in London. They were drawn back to New Zealand with Hawkes Bay in mind as a great place to make wine and bring up little ones. They sum up what they passionately do better than we can -
“Halcyon Days wine is made with organic grapes from Biogro certified vineyards. The grapes are handpicked, naturally fermented, and bottled unfined, unfiltered, with no additions. We use time honoured methods to create striking wines that are a dynamic expression of Halcyon’s place, Heretaunga/Hawke’s Bay”.
We’ve had the pleasure of knowing wife and husband team Tamra Washington and Simon Kelly for some time. Their love of great wine and food, not to mention their talent and hard work brings about a series of very stylishly crafted wines made from selected organically certified vineyards around the country.
In returning to NZ to set up By The Bottle, McLeod’s have consistently impressed us with their diverse range of bloody serious beers. Based in Waipu, brother’s Geoff and Clayton Gwynne have a magic touch.
A true example of modern wine making, Scout started in Australia and is the culmination of years of winemaking experience around the world. Sarah Adamson and Greg Lane now source fruit from great, established vineyards in the South Island and produce thoughtful, detailed expressions of our best sub regions.
Steve Planthaber and Kirsty Sutherland have both been surrounded by vines for yonks. Steve in the Barossa growing up, Kirsty in Marlborough. Steve earned his Marlborough stripes winemaking at Cloudy Bay, and they soon established Settlement. After long standing relationships with excellent, organic growers, they produce wines that are sophisticated expressions of four different Marlborough vineyards.
The three fates are Holly Girven Russell, Hester Nesbitt and Casey Motley. In another case of COVID causing a change of tack, these three decided to combine their respective wine growing experience, taking on the lease of a Maraekākaho, Hawkes Bay vineyard in 2020. It’s a trio of things we love here at BTB - talented people going out on their own, alternative grape varieties, and wines that are thoughtful, modern expressions of great New Zealand wine regions.
With a thoughtful, holistic approach, Brendan and Laura Carter of Unico Zelo focus on mainly Italian varieties from the Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills and Riverland. We can confirm that the wines are consistently yum, but we’d urge you to delve into their website for a glimpse at their very considered approach and initiatives. This includes reducing their water usage, reducing their environmental footprint, and ensuring grape growers are paid much higher than the industry average. It’s an exciting future for the Australian wine industry with people like the Carters getting stuck in. These wines will be poured by Angie Atkinson, their NZ importer. Angie successfully launched her distribution business Blanc in the middle of the pandemic, and is very much a Future Maker in our industry herself.
While Scotch has overwhelmingly been the benchmark in the world of whisky, things are changing fast. Japanese whisky is rarer than hens teeth and Tasmanian whisky's are racking up prestigious accolades all over the world. That’s why it’s so exciting to see the Thomson team blazing the whisky trail right here in NZ. They staunchly use only New Zealand grown malts, Manuka and locally sourced peat. Thomson whisky are the driving force for a regional style of New Zealand whisky recognised around the world.
Ozone - our venue
We’ve loved working with the team at Ozone on this. Their approach is inspiring, and embodies exactly what Future Makers is all about. They best sum that up -
“From our direct-sourcing program to source the most ethical and responsible coffee for you, our kitchen philosophy rooted using local sourcing and reducing waste, to our commitment to supporting and empowering our team and communities, we strive for betterment in everything we do—for our people and the planet. It’s a sustainability journey with no final destination. Because we’re always learning new ways to improve and deepen our commitment for a more sustainable future.”