Rosie Dunphy and her eldest daughter, Georgia (right) at Coal Pit Vineyard in the Gibbston Valley, Central Otago

If you could choose any bottle of wine to drink tonight, what would it be?

RD: Given that the evenings are getting cooler, 2012 Coal Pit Pinot Noir is the wine we’re drinking at home at the moment which, of course, I’m absolutely loving. But during the summer evenings I couldn’t wait to sit down with friends and family, and enjoy some delicious cheese and a glass of 2018 Coal Pit Rosé.

 

How did you come to own a small winery on a back road in Otago’s coolest wine sub-region?

RD: I studied Advanced Urban Horticulture in Australia and decided that owning a vineyard and producing the very best grapes possible was where my heart was leaning. Before moving to Ireland for two years I looked around but it was my brother-in-law, the late Peter Walker, who heard that Coal Pit vineyard was for sale.  We approached a number of people for advice, including Alan Brady, the godfather of Central Otago wine. He assured me this was an excellent site and that I shouldn’t hesitate. I’ll always be so grateful to Peter and Alan for their direction.

 

What’s your biggest wine success to date?

RD:  It’s difficult to say but it was an honour for our 2014 Coal Pit Pinot Noir to win a trophy and gold medal at the 2016 International Wine Challenge, which is regarded as the world’s most meticulously judged wine competition with literally tens of thousands of wines entered from around the world. The same wine also won Pure Elite Gold at the 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards. That said, the biggest wine success is really having a great team of people around me who are all energetic, accomplished and fun to work with.

What’s your ultimate dream goal for your wines?
RD: To be the best
 
What’s the most challenging aspect of owning a winery?
RD: The weather.
How would you like people to describe your Pinot Noir? 
RD: World class
 
What was the most helpful thing you learnt in your viticulture training at Plumpton College?
RD: The course at Plumpton College was just an introduction and much of it was not relevant to a small winery in Central Otago where we don’t have many of the diseases and problems they have in the United Kingdom climate. The most valuable and helpful things Ive learnt have been day by day, running the vineyard. I’m the first to admit I rely heavily on the expertise of my vineyard, winery, sales and admin’ managers. Coal Pit is the result of a team effort.