People

The five shareholding families of Grasshopper Rock live throughout New Zealand, from Hamilton to Invercargill. The families originally met through a common interest in agriculture, with four members involved in rural banking. Today, these interests have diversified into dairy farming, sheep and deer farming, share broking, oncology pharmacy, fine arts, white baiting, gardening and family activities. The annual meetings are always a celebration of the best of local produce, including an outstanding pinot noir.

We are fortunate to work with people who strive for excellence, working with the best raw materials and managing them to the best of their ability.

Winemaker

Pip Battley

We work with some of Central Otago's most highly regarded winemakers. Pip Battley, Pete Bartle and the VinPro winery team transform the grapes we grow into wine. It has been a very successful collaboration since our first vintage in 2006.

Pip is our Senior Winemaker at VinPro.

Pip believes in letting the wine speak for itself with just a little guidance along the way, she strives to bring out the qualities unique to the vineyard, gently tailoring the wine with minimal interference.

Born and raised on a farm in North Auckland, Pip studied Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln University. A desire for travel and a passion for Pinot Noir, has taken her from Martinborough and Central Otago to Oregon, Burgundy and Chablis, Nelson and South Australia. In 2017, Pip returned to NZ from Cape Jaffa Wines in South Australia and was appointed Winemaker at VinPro, and now Senior Winemaker.

In her spare time Pip enjoys all water sports and spending time with her dogs.

Vineyard Manager

Mike Moffitt

Mike has overseen the development of the vineyard from a bare deer paddock in 2001, to the impressive vineyard that it is today and plays a critical role in growing the premium fruit we deliver to the winery.

Mike, with brother Steve, established a successful Alexandra orchard in the 1980's and then both were bitten by the pinot noir bug. In 1991, they established the Dry Gully vineyard on family land on Earnscleugh Road. Dry Gully has consistently produced high quality pinot noir since 1996 and has been one of the pinot pioneers in Alexandra.

Mike has a Diploma in Parks & Recreation, from Lincoln University.

Managing Director

Phil Handford

Phil is the face of Grasshopper Rock, leading the company since it was formed in 2001 through to the establishment of Grasshopper Rock as a world-class Central Otago pinot noir producer. Phil previously had a career as a rural banker, before being involved in the establishment of various agribusiness ventures. Phil has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Massey University.

Owners

Grasshopper Rock started as an idea to develop a world-class vineyard on a small piece of land in Central Otago. The five families had vision and courage and thrived on a challenge. With hindsight, it was a courageous undertaking for a small group of people to establish a new vineyard on virgin land and build a reputation as a world-class pinot noir producer.

The vineyard was planted in 2003 and the first grapes harvested in 2006. The wine released in late 2007, only months before the start of the global financial crisis. 

Sixteen years after planting the first vines and twelve years after releasing the first wine, Grasshopper Rock has established an enviable record as one of the Fine Wines of New Zealand.

 

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