gary mills

“New Zealand Syrah quality continues to forge ahead.”

The 10th Annual New Zealand Syrah Workshop, held at the Bayview Chateau Tongariro from the 4 to 6 November, with Gary Mills, Winemaker and Owner, Jamsheed Wines, Victoria, Australia as the International Guest Speaker.  He was joined by Graeme Bott, Domaine Stephane Ogier, France, and local speakers Kirsten Creasy and Cameron Douglas MS.

Gary was "seriously impressed with the quality - across the board - of NZ Syrah. Perfumed, elegant wines with low alcohols and fresh acidity which are basically my kind of wines. What was pleasantly unexpected was the regional specificity of the wines, Hawke’s Bay being dense muscular and sweet fruited, Waiheke Island Syrah’s being wild, expressive and elemental and Martinborough showing the sleek slippery tannins reminiscent of St Joseph.”

“I also really enjoyed the camaraderie and openness of the winemakers and their sense of adventure and willingness to share their knowledge with each other. You also cannot fault the setting - such a wonderful venue."

Graeme believes “that the Syrah Workshop 2015 was a great event where winemakers from all around the world can come together to share a common passion, capturing the beauty and expression of land and place through one single grape variety, Syrah.  Sharing knowledge is great and given the opportunity we were more than happy to travel from France to New Zealand to discuss Syrah and the wines produced by this variety.  In France we have been gifted with over 2,000 years of history growing this grape, however the advances that New Zealand has made in its short 30 years are exceptional.”

“For me the most important point that was concluded from the Workshop is that every grape growing region in New Zealand where Syrah vineyards have been planted has its own unique style and voice. It was great to see that individual site characteristics were defined and it is really giving New Zealand a voice of Terroir. Syrah has a very exciting future in New Zealand.”

While for Cameron Douglas MS, "addressing one's peers is always a little nerve racking especially when those peers know significantly more about wine production than I do. That said when the topic is about how their wine is understood by gatekeepers to restaurant winelists and sales in general only the product itself can do the talking and advise the taster of its potential and fit. My audience were fabulous and great listeners and looking forward to doing it all again sometime in the future."

Gary’s. Graeme’s and Cameron’s comments sum up the purpose of the biannual Workshop to bring together winegrowers in New Zealand to study and improve both viticultural and oenological practices as they apply to the variety Syrah.

This year’s Convenor, Paul Dawick, Mills Reef Winery, says “the 2015 Syrah Workshop was another success. It has proven that Syrah is still developing stylistically while the quality is improving constantly. The past vintages have shown us that Syrah can quickly become the leading red wine of New Zealand. We now look forward to the next workshop being held in 2017.”

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