Five Minutes With: Winemaker Richelle Collier


Five Minutes With: Winemaker Richelle Collier
We chat to Richelle Collier, Assistant Winemaker at Spy Valley wines, about her favourite drop, the challenges of winemaking and looking to the future.

How did you get into winemaking?

I always enjoyed chemistry during school and later whilst working in Switzerland I was lucky enough to Nanny for a family with a passion for wine. Travelling to various wine regions on family holidays gave me the opportunity to develop an appreciation for fine wine. On my return to New Zealand I wondered how I could combine these two interests which lead me to enrol in the winemaking programme at NMIT and I haven’t looked back.

What do you love about working at Spy Valley?
I love the fact Spy Valley is a family owned estate and we are one family inside and out. There are numerous employees who have worked at Spy 10+ years and Spy have worked along side the same National and International distributors from the beginning. There is a great sense of loyalty at Spy.

I enjoy working with Spy’s many different varietals. The Spy Valley team have invested a lot of time and effort over the years perfecting our diverse range. Working along side Head Winemaker Paul Bourgeois is a great opportunity to learn from his wealth of knowledge.

What’s your favourite wine at the moment, and why?

Pinot Noir is a very fickle grape to work with it demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery to express its true essence.

Marlborough Pinot Noir is gaining National and International recognition with recent accolades (IWSC 2016 Champion Pinot Noir) been awarded to a Marlborough Southern Valleys Pinot Noir.

Spy Valley’s 2013 Pinot Noir picked up the Air NZ Open Red Trophy last year with all our fruit originating from the Southern Valleys. This is a particular favourite of mine at the moment. It has evolved over the last couple of years to show juicy red fruit characters with beautifully integrated oak and silky tannins. With red cherries and herbal notes on the nose.

What’s your impression of New Zealand’s wine scene at the moment? How has it changed in recent years?

The New Zealand wine industry is in an exciting place at the moment with producers focussed on diversification and quality. I think a lot of lessons were learnt  after the over supply in 2008 with producers now diversifying with new varietals such as Albariño and Gruner Veltliner. Another focus being Geographical indicators such as the sub-regions of Marlborough e.g Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc or Southern Valleys Pinot Noir.

What are your plans for Spy Valley’s wines over the next year?

Spy Valley is new world with an old world twist. Our focus is to produce premium wines that express their sense of place or terroir. Whilst treading lightly on the environment by utilising sustainable wine growing practices.

Can you give us some tips about food and wine pairings over the festive season?

To me festive season is synonymous with bubbles whether it’s French, Spanish, or New Zealand. The beauty of bubbles is they go with anything.

Wine and food is all about enjoyment don’t get too caught up on the rules if you enjoy it that’s all that matters.


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