Joelle Thomson

Writer, author, journalist

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Friday drinks with Brent Marris of Marisco

Brent Marris established The Ned in 2006 in the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough on a site that he purchased and planted in 2004. His impressive career in wine continues the trajectory established by his father, who was one of the first to purchase vineyard land in Marlborough in 1973 for Montana Wines. Marris trained in winemaking at Roseworthy Agricultural College in Adelaide, gaining a Bachelor Of Applied Science in Oenology (winemaking) and becoming Marlborough’s first born and raised qualified winemaker when he began in the region in 1981. His daughter Emma (one of four daughters) attended the same college in Adelaide 30 years later. 

This is (part of) his story.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 

Four daughters who love hunting and fishing, wine tasting, laughter and life more than I do.

What is your favourite thing about wine? 

Social times, sharing with friends and family. Stories shared, life discussed, future plans made…

Do you have a most treasured wine? 

Diamond Heart. This sparkling made by us is dedicated to Rosemary, my wife. The most supportive partner one could wish for. The least I could do was create a special sparkling wine dedicated to her.

When and where are you at your happiest? 

Sitting down at The River Hut on our Waihopai Vineyard on the banks of the Waihopai River. Nothing like taking in New Zealand beauty, enjoying a glass of wine made from the vineyard, while quietly resetting your clock. A place where you can simply take a moment.

What do you most dislike in wine? 

Our industry is becoming more and more focused on compliance. You must move with the times. There can be positive outcomes but there appears to be so much unnecessary work required to meet the new standards set.

What is your greatest fear? 

The All Blacks continuing their losing streak! Aghhhhhhh.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Having a sports car built in the colours of The Ned brand, right down to the red leather stitching. 

What is your greatest regret? 

That I did not purchase enough old world wines years ago. My daughters are loving the opportunity of tasting and discussing the nuances of the different varieties and styles of wine from around the world, especially when they are older than 15 years. They are going through my cellar so fast!

What talent would you most like to have? 

Not needing as much sleep.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? 

Getting out to my favourite fishing spot off Waiheke Island on the perfect day with the tide just right…and forgetting the bait!

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 

“Don’t assume anything!”

What is your favourite meal? 

Any meat dish that I have prepared from wild game hunted with a daughter on Leefield Station.

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

I would want to come back as a wine tank at our new Leefield Station winery. It would allow me to see the progress the girls are making with our dream, with the added benefit of being filled with wine from time to time. Ha.