Grasshopper Rock's vines are now 15 years old and we have good reason to celebrate. The vines have achieved a stage of maturity where the roots have fully colonized the available space and the trunks are now thick and strong with greater resilience, delivering richness and complexity of flavour and character. We have perhaps not yet seen the greatest wines from this vineyard.
To mark the 15 years we invited our customers to help celebrate with some feedback. We were blown away with the response. Here is the question posed and the responses. Much of this confirms our belief that Grasshopper Rock is a well kept secret and the best is yet to come from this vineyard.
My first Grasshopper Rock and what I most remember about that first vintage or occasion:
"My first experience with Grasshopper Rock was receiving a gift of 2 bottles of the 2009 vintage. It began a love affair where I have enjoyed surprising pinot loving friends with tasting flights and bottles of Grasshopper Rock that they hadn't experienced before."
"I was travelling for work to Dunedin in 2008 and was looking for a good but not expensive Pinot in a Bottle shop in Moray Place. The salesman talked me out of something more expensive which I knew into Grasshopper Rock. I thought, this must be good if he is prepared to recommend it and forgo some margin. It delivered in spades and I have remained a fan. I don't know whether it was vintage '06 or '07."
"I remember seeing that this vintage won champion of the show at the Air New Zealand Wine awards in 2012, I think it was, so I quickly hunted online to buy some, opened at home with family over dinner and it was a beautiful wine. So, I joined the wine club and have purchased a case each year. Most of it sitting patiently on top of the wardrobe, can't wait to work through the years!"
"Dinner the night before our elder son's graduation in Dunedin. We "drank the restaurant out of" your wine, and the wine waiter struggled to find anything comparable to follow. We have been committed fans ever since."
"It was purchased as part of our honeymoon in Central Otago. Both the marriage and the wine are developing beautifully!"
"I believe it was the 2010. I was flying from Seattle to Dubai on Emirates in February 2017. The Grasshopper Rock was offered as one of the wine selections in the 1st class cabin. It was FANTASTIC! Since we were planning on being in New Zealand March of 2017, I immediately went online and arranged a 'Library' tasting during our visit. That began a love affair with your wines."
"I’m not certain of the vintage, but most likely at our maimai in the company of John Carmody who was proudly showing off the first vintage. We regularly do a vertical tasting in the first weekend of May each year! To be fair I can’t really remember the flavours etc!"
"We were down at our usual Friday night drinking establishment where we used to gather at the end of each week to toast the survival of yet, another torrid week in the trenches........ which doubled as a tapas bar and wine merchant. The proprietor suggested I try this Pinot he had found. It was one of yours.
I am pretty certain it was the very first vintage because the wine guy said this was a new label, but I can't be sure. I do remember it was pricey. I also remember the name because it was fairly unusual but when we whipped the top off we decided after a glass that it was well worth the price I paid. Our wine guy closed down shortly after that and I had to hunt around for some time to find more of it. having found you again I joined the wine club so I don't lose you again."
"A dear friend brought a bottle of this wine to dinner. On first sip I said Wow! This is delicious! I ordered a case next day. Sadly, that same evening, he told me that he had just been diagnosed with MS. A crushing blow for anyone, but this was a very fit man who loves tramping and had planned to walk the length of NZ this spring, starting October. Guess who I will give it to if I get one of those bottles."
"I most remember that I had a bottle of your 2009 and decided it needed time to settle. Your survey has reminded me that I should now take out a bottle and taste it again, as it must have settled by now, so I will do that this weekend in honour of your anniversary!"
"First time I really felt in love in NZ pinot."
"It was a stunner. Enjoyed it in a tin shed, in the company of a few friends, whilst hunting ducks. It was a great wine match to the days hunting - wild ducks, roast potatoes and all the other good things you have on those occasions."
"How surprised and impressed I was to taste something so harmonious and how well it has stood the test of time. I felt optimistic about future vintages and was not disappointed with the outstanding and exceptional 2010. Thank you!"
"Buying a bottle in Queenstown for dinner after reading a Michelle Round review, tasting it with dinner, being impressed, looking up how to buy it and get it to Australia, contacting Phil, ordering and paying. All before we finished the bottle. Still have some left and it was lovely and developing well when we had some a couple of months ago."
"The 2009 vintage was the first Pinot Noir I tasted which had the depth clarity and fruit flavours of some of the best French wines I had tasted in previous visits to France. I immediately sourced a case the very next day and have been a fan ever since!"
"First taste was in Tauranga in 2008 when we received our first case. Lovely with some good cheese and crackers, whitebait for dinner and gorgeous a sunset in the background."
"My first connection was through Otago Uni’s Hands on Science. We lost a great manager but gained so much more. I’ve stuck to this wine ever since and never been disappointed. But the secret is out! Last year I met an Aussie wine taster who was amazed when I said GR was my favorite tipple. He thought it was his secret. 💚💚💚💚💚"
"My husband and I were relaxing on the terrace overlooking the beautiful Bay of Plenty from our rural vantage point. The sun was low in the sky and we’d just taken our first sip from the first bottle of our first case of Grasshopper Rock. Mmmmm! That moment set us on our 3-case a year journey and the most recent delivery of our Library Collection. It’s difficult to imagine not having Grasshopper Rock in the cellar for years to come!"
"Phil has quirky & informative newsletters, but I do recall at the time the news from him that the 2006 vintage had sold out!"
"Growing awareness of how special the Pinots of Central Otago were and the need to keenly follow the brand."
"Had it at Hullablloo, our local art gallery, probably at the Xmas do, and really enjoyed the wine."
"We served it at our wedding"
"As I thoughtfully sipped this first vintage I remember thinking "Wow he's not entirely 'Phil of shit' after all"
"Angus Bradshaw - sales guru from Grasshopper Rock (and MD of MTF at the time), turned up to the first MTF Franchise Conference in 2008, with several cases of 2006 for us to try. He was like a proud Dad with his first born and we soon worked out why - it was delicious! I have been a faithful sampler ever since. Thanks Angus!"
"I bought the first case direct from Grasshopper Rock in February 2011 and the second case in November 2011, We were living in Australia then, GHR opened up a whole new world of what a Pinot Noir should be. We drank them over the next seven years, the last one in June this year. They are a spectacular Pinot, and each year seems to get better, we only drink them on special occasions, allowing them time to breath before pouring, buying a case each year, we've just started the 2013. The 2014, 2015 and 2016 are sitting there waiting their turn."
"The beautiful flavours and taste that made me sign up for at least an annual order as a wine club member, something I have never regretted!"
"It’s a blur! A great wine to enjoy with others.... or with one's self! :)"
"It was at an Easter fair with family. The weather was cool, but the beautiful cool red was amazing and warmed me from the inside. I remember the orange of the trees and the gorgeous atmosphere of the occasion. Have been in love with Grasshopper rock ever since."
"It was the most expensive bottle of wine I’d ever bought at that point in my life! I was just starting on my wine appreciation and collection voyage and had read a number of reviews, including one by Bob Campbell and knew I had to try it. I think it cost about $30 back then and once I had summoned up the courage to make a two bottle purchase I couldn’t bring myself to drink it. So, I then spent the next 2 years just looking at it in my (at the time) sparse wine cellar. But it was amazing when I finally decided to drink the first bottle. And that’s why I’m an abuse member of your wine club now!"
"One of my mates presented it at our weekly wine options tasting. It was intense, concentrated, & turned out to be great value for money, so we purchased future vintages as a result!"
"2013 was warm and beautifully ripe without being an obvious fruit-driven show pony. "Together" is how I remember it, all the elements where they should be to produce a balanced and thoroughly satisfying wine drinking experience."
"Grasshopper Rock ""arrived"" in Alexandra a year after we did in 2002. In 2011 I thought it was time to support our ""neighbour"" and ordered a dozen of the 2010. While the leg of lamb was in the oven, I started: it was the best pinot noir I had tasted since the 1991 Rippon (Central Otago's first gold medal for a pinot). I emailed Grasshopper Rock and predicted it would win the pinot trophy at the upcoming Air NZ awards. It did. Not only that: it was the champion of show. I then emailed that the price was too low (something that rarely can be said about Central Otago pinots).”
"The reluctance with which Seal let me have a taste. Think he planned to drink the entire vintage himself. Been loving it ever since."
"The 2011 vintage is my alpha and omega. It was the first taste I had of grasshopper rock after it won Air NZ wine awards - I brought a case home from Moore Wilson’s back to California. This is also the last bottle of wine my mother drank before passing away. Happy and sad times with this bottle. Amazing for any celebration. A simple design but full of amazing wine - delicious fruit, well made and a bargain price. I had the pleasure of bringing family to the vineyard last year and try all the vintages side by side."
"It was a damn good wine and I still have just one left in my cellar along with some of every vintage since with the exception of 2016 which I am about to place my order"
"Chambolle Musigny- like elegance"
"My best friend who is a pinot nut said 'get some of this Rossi' and I did. The rests as they say is ye know....."
"It was a delightful surprise tasting my first sip of the 2006 Grasshopper Rock - plenty of flavour and depth - Bliss - which is why we keep enjoying to drinking it vintage after vintage - thanks team"
"Tasted and bought a case at the Dunedin tasting of Central Otago wines. All the players were there and this 25 dollar a bottle pinot left most of its neighbours in the dust and rivalled the likes of the reserves like Rockburn 10 barrels. So pleasantly balanced, rich and that indescribable something that makes the palet feel good."
"A quiet drink at Soul Bar in Auckland with a couple of mates which exploded into a legendary evening...bluff oysters & awesome Grasshopper Rock or "G'rock" as we started to call it as the night progressed....great times, great laughs, great wine!"
"How much my wife and I loved it, it was our anniversary and we got our hands on a bottle based on the recommendation of her boss at the time. He's a semi-known wine connoisseur of sorts. We then signed up to Grasshopper for the annual delivery and assuming nothing changes we imagine we'll maintain this ongoing."