Tuesday wine talk with Rosie Dunphy

Rosie Dunphy is the owner of Coal Pit Winery, one of the jewels in Gibbston Valley’s wine crown. This small winery is situated on Coal Pit Road, which winds its way up a spectacularly beautiful hillside slope behind Mount Edward Winery. Dunphy is Auckland based but a large part of her heart resides in the deep south, as this interview reveals.

Meet Rosie Dunphy, the subject of today’s wine chat

This is the tenth interview on this website based on the famous Proust questionnaire, which originated in 1886 – find out more here.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

It’s a cliché but certainly our four great kids.  They’re good, hardworking, fun human beings. And I am truly proud of the vineyard and the wine we make at Coal Pit. I can’t believe it was more than 20 years ago that I thought I’d like to grow grapes, looked for the best site I could find and bought our beautiful Coal Pit.

What is your current state of mind?

Today is the first day out of level 4 lockdown so I’m excited and itching to get going on all our projects at the vineyard and at home. Totally energised.

What is your favourite part of winemaking?

Having everyone in my team working together around harvest time.

Do you have a most treasured wine?

Our 2009 Coal Pit Pinot Noir, the 1986 Domaine Leroy Nuit St George Pinot because I have great memories of drinking this at a lunch in Burgundy with my husband in 1989 and buying a case or two (or three) to send back to New Zealand.

Where is your favourite wine region?


When and where are you at your happiest?

Summer at the vineyard when the weather’s fabulous and everything looks stunning or at Lake Rotoiti with all our family at Christmas.

What do you most dislike in wine? 

The arrogance of some who feel their opinions on wine are the only relevant ones. We don’t all enjoy the same foods, nor do we all enjoy the same wines.

What is your greatest fear?


What is your greatest extravagance?

Travel, particularly to some of the stunning vineyards in Europe,  when possible.

What is your greatest regret?

I don’t like the idea of regrets. What’s done is done.  If I had to specify something then I regret not having studied horticulture as soon as I left school rather than waiting until I was in my 30s.

What talent would you most like to have?

To be seriously innovative and therefore be ahead of the curve.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Apart from the obvious loss of anyone close to me, losing a whole great vintage through frost just before harvesting is pretty deep in the misery stakes.

What is the trait that you most deplore in yourself?

I have too many to write here and I’d never want to expose myself so fully.

What do you most value in your friends?

Loyalty and integrity but also the ability to dance on tables and mix up a mean margarita.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 

Apparently I say ‘divine’ all the time. I’m sure I don’t. Probably  “I’ll just zoom to get….”

I’m always rushing.

What is your favourite meal?

Snapper grilled on an open fire (Francis Mallman style) with chips and salad, followed by a huge piece of pavlova with cream and strawberries

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing what do you think it would be?

Our dog Polly. Everyone adores her.  She’s the most relaxed, happy black labrador with not a care in the world.

Author: Joelle Thomson

I am a wine writer, author and educator... first bitten by a big buttery Chardonnay on a dark and stormy night in the 1980s and there was no turning back... Follow my tastings and join some too on this new site.

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