Jeremy Corban and Katherine Jacobs – partners in life and in wine

It’s a small winery with a big name. Literally. Big Sky Vineyard in the Wairarapa has a new cellar and production facility which has just finished construction, 20 steps from the home of the owners, Jeremy Corban and Katherine Jacobs.

The couple always planned to build their own winery to give them  a closer connection and greater quality control of the grapes they grow on site. The new winery will also double as a social environment for visitors to taste, talk and enjoy their wines.

“We always made our own wine but we used our neighbour’s  winery; John Douglas, who is along the road at Te Hera and has his own winery at the back of his vineyard,” says Jacobs.

She and Corban currently make about 1,500 cases of wine. Their new winery will be able to process 30 tonnes of fruit; enough to make 2000 cases of wine every year. She says they never want to become a large business, but they do plan to plant the three hectares of land still available around their home vineyard site. This will predominantly be planted in Pinot Noir with a mix of whites making up the remainder.

The new winery also gives her and Corban more room to experiment. This year they are trialling a small batch of orange wine, a petillant natural and an intensely oaky Chardonnay, all easier to experiment with on site than at someone else’s winery.

The oaky Chardonnay experiment came about after talks with the Auckland distributors of their wines, Caro’s, owned by brothers John and Richard, who stores are based in Ponsonby and Parnell.

  • Big Sky cellar door and winery is at 415 Te Muna Road, Martinborough, phone 06 306 8441. Visits by appointment.

bigskywines.co.nz