Wednesday, 08 July 2015 16:36

Young Guns - Ben Byrne

Written by 
Ben Byrne. Ben Byrne.

Ben Byrne aged 34 is a winemaker at Marsden Estate and does vineyard work on three other small blocks.

How Long Have You Worked In Northland?

I came back to Northland in 2006.

What Brought You Here?

It’s home for me.  It’s just a unique part of the world, and once it’s in your blood it’s pretty hard to stay away!

Where Have You Travelled In Wine To Get Here?

I studied at Lincoln, I’ve worked in wineries in Margaret River, Marlborough, Central Victoria, Sonoma County, and the Yarra Valley.  

What Do You Enjoy Most About Your Job?

The endless variety of work. I get to work with grapes from multiple different sites around the region, and a huge range of varieties.  Plus I get to do everything from pruning, to plunging, to selling wine.  Every day is different.

What Do You Enjoy Most About Northland?

It’s warm (mostly), and we have both coasts within driving distance.  If you like surfing, fishing, and diving, it’s perfect.  

The wine industry up here is small, but it’s very collegial and supportive.  The wine we produce seems to get better every year, and there are lots of new things going on up here, so it’s an exciting place to work.  

When You’re Not Making Wine Or Growing Grapes?

See above, except I don’t seem to get out as much as I should.  I’m sure most people working in this industry feel the same way, especially at this time of year (vintage).

It Sucks When….

You start having dreams about refrigeration disasters, broken tractors, and scary weather maps!

Your Favourite Wine?

Anything that’s interesting, challenging, or just tastes really good.

Which Wine Region Excites You Most Right Now?

Northland, of course!  Especially some of the new vineyards close to the coast.  We’ve received fruit this year that is up there with anything I’ve seen, anywhere.  

Sure, we can still have tough seasons, but the viticulture and winemaking has improved so much over the last few years that we’re definitely becoming a lot more consistent.

Future Aspirations?

To grow better grapes, and make better wine.  There is so much to learn in this business, it’s never ending, to me that’s what makes it such a compelling industry to work in.  

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