NZ Winemaker of the Year 2020 finalists

We our thrilled to have our winemaker, Peter Bartle (VinPro), as one of the finalists. 

This year marks the third year of Gourmet Traveller WINE's New Zealand Winemaker of the Year. The judging panel is New Zealand Editor Bob Campbell MW (chair) and industry stalwarts Cameron Douglas MS and Liz Wheadon.

The other finalists are Larry McKenna (Escarpment), Jen Parr (Valli), Gordon Russell (Esk Valley), Andrew Keenleyside (Akarua) and Alastair Maling (Foley Wines). Last years winner was Helen Masters (Ata Rangi).

Pictured below are Peter Bartle (Chief Winemaker VinPro) and Pip Battley (Senior Winemaker VinPro)

Gourmet Traveller WINE finalist's profile

As a contract winemaker at VinPro and Co-owner/Winemaker at Providore Wines, Pete Bartle has been raking in the accolades, and he’s only just getting started.

Pete Bartle grew up in Hawke’s Bay and trained as a mechanic after leaving school. His passion for wine led to him helping some friends who owned a vineyard. Deciding that he’d rather tinker with grapevines than car engines, Bartle looked around for study options and chose a one-year Certificate in Grape Growing and Winemaking course at Hawke’s Bay Polytechnic (now EIT).

As luck would have it, he did a work experience stint at Esk Valley and was infected by the enthusiasm of winemaker Gordon Russell, another of this year’s Gourmet Traveller WINE NZ Winemaker of the Year finalists. Working at Esk Valley confirmed his ambition to become a winemaker.

In 1995 Bartle joined Villa Maria as a cellar hand and spent the next five years working with winemaker Michelle Richardson. By then he was in charge of the cellar. “Villa was a great learning experience. It shaped my view on making wines with balance, how to recognise fruit quality and coerce the best from what you get without overworking it. I also spent three months at Joseph Phelps in Napa for harvest 1997 and had a wonderful experience making wine during what was one of the best seasons Napa has had.”

Bartle next went to Marlborough where he worked for Forrest Estate as Assistant Winemaker for a year before being lured to Central Otago and the chance to make pinot noir. He worked for four years at Olssen’s of Bannockburn (now Terra Sancta) as winemaker, and then six years as winemaker for Peregrine.

In 2010 Bartle moved to the contract winemaking, bottling and warehousing company, VinPro. “VinPro gave me the opportunity to work with many amazing vineyards across all of Central Otago’s subregions. I learned very early in my career that the more vineyards I worked with, the steeper the learning curve and the better equipped I was to work with different fruit qualities from different years and places.”

Because he works in Central Otago Bartle is passionate about pinot noir and puts chardonnay on a high pedestal, but confesses that he enjoys working with just about every wine style from sauvignon blanc to rosé.

As well as being head of winemaking at VinPro, since 2017 Bartle has been the Co-owner and Winemaker for Central Otago producer, Providore Wines.

“I have been super lucky throughout my career to work with some great vineyards. That has translated into success with many Champion Wine of Show and top in class wins across multiple formats with multiple varieties. The ones I am most proud of are Champion Pinot Noir in the Sydney International Wine Competition three years in a row and taking out Champion Wine of Show in the same event. VinPro wines have earned 37 gold medals and eight trophies in just two vintages, a remarkable achievement.”



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