"I definitely feel that I'm growing," notes Nicholas Brown, when asked to reflect on his two-decade winemaking career, with the past 15 years at North Canterbury's Black Estate.
"My philosophy is to enjoy and celebrate the process and where possible connect with nature," Nicholas told Jo Burzynska.
"Each season is different, so if we can be in sync with the season, hopefully we can help vines grow, harvest fruit with good ripeness, ferment grape juice into wine, and ultimately bottle wines that are delicious and have an appropriate natural balance." Organic stalwart and Organic Winegrowers New Zealand board member Bart Arnst, of organic label The Darling, won Viticulturist of the Year, and Nick Mills of Rippon - also organic - won the leadership award. Sam Rouse, of organic producer Dry River, won the Young Winemaker award. Jo, who was one of three judges in the awards, says the fact all the winners won organically "is testament to the value of this practice for creating some of the country's most expressive and exciting wines. This not only highlights its adoption by some of our most skilled and thoughtful wine growers and makers, but the success of organics more widely in Aotearoa."