OPINION: Damien O'Connor is never one to shy away from speaking his mind and ruffling a few feathers, and in a nice way he did this at Federated Farmers’ conference last week.
And Gewurztraminer is the wine that she believes will fit the bill.
Linda Tatare is of Tuwharetoa and Ngati Porou descent, and believes the Maori palate is an area that has not been catered to.
At the age of 58, she is studying extramurally for her Diploma in Grapegrowing and Winemaking. Prior to that she completed an EIT bridging course in chemistry and also gained certificates in grape growing and winemaking, horticulture and agriculture through EIT Tairawhiti’s rural studies unit.
Tatare rates her Gewurztraminer, a fragrant white varietal with medium sweetness balanced with spice to give the wine a sustained finish. “Gewurtz” is German for spice and she likes a lot of spice. However, her interpretation tends to the sweeter rather than the off-dry end of the scale.
“I’ve been really surprised at how Maori like it. Elderly Maori women in particular tend to have sophisticated palates and appreciate the qualities of my wine.”
For her first vintage last year, she made 60 dozen bottles of wine.
“I guess there are about nine dozen left. We had a lot of fun over Christmas, gifting wine to friends and family who have supported us over the years.”
This year, production is up to 1.5 tonnes and Tatare doesn’t want to go beyond that.
“This year’s a serious one,” she says of the 2015 vintage. “We’re not messing around giving it away this time. I have to up my business acumen, getting registered and licensed to make this happen.”
She has chosen the name Rawhiti for her label – a diminutive for Tairawhiti but also meaning sunshine in Maori.