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

Pete Bartle

We work with one of Central Otago's most highly regarded winemakers. Pete Bartle and the VinPro winery team transform the grapes into wine.

Pete believes most of the work is done in the vineyard and the winemaker's role is to protect the purity of the fruit grown in the vineyard and to make wine that is true to the site; wine with poise, texture and balance. Pete is the winemaker behind three Air New Zealand Champion Trophy wines.

Pete started his winemaking career in the Hawkes Bay and after graduating with honours in the Certificate of Grape Growing and Winemaking from the Eastern Institute of Technology spent five years at Villa Maria Estate, three months at Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa, California, a year at Forrest Estate in Marlborough, four years as winemaker at Olssens in Central Otago and six years as winemaker at Peregrine in Central. In 2010 Pete became winemaker at VinPro, Cromwell and helped produce the Air New Zealand Champion wine; Grasshopper Rock Pinot Noir 2010.

Pete lives in Alexandra with his wife Dora, daughter Paige and sons Oscar and Pedro. Pete likes to keep fit with cycling, has an eclectic taste in music, wine and foods.

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 and a massive oversupply of wine resulting from New Zealand's record 2008 vintage.

Thirteen years after planting the first vines and nine years after releasing the first wine, Grasshopper Rock has established an enviable record.

Phil & Max Handford

Grasshopper Rock managing director was the mastermind behind establishing the vineyard and was instrumental in bring the group together. Three of the owners were known to Phil though working together at The Rural Bank. In late 2007, Phil left the National Bank to work fulltime for Grasshopper Rock. Max is an oncology pharmacist at Waikato Hospital. They live in Hamilton and are active school boy rowing supporters. Spare time is spent gardening and various outdoor activities.

Angus & Ro Bradshaw

Angus is chairman of Grasshopper Rock and until late 2014 was managing director of MTF. Angus, Phil and John worked together in The Rural Bank in the 1980s, when Angus was in senior management. Ro is an accomplished artist working from their Gibbston home. Ro can often be found at Hullabaloo Art Space, Cromwell. Together Angus and Ro are creating a special home and garden orchard at Gibbston.

Adrian & Ann Irving

Adrian and Ann are retired Southland farmers, although busy with family and motors and Rural Women. Adrian knew more about winemaking than any of us at the start and is the expert winemaker of elderberry, gorse flower and many other wines. Adrian has a special interest in stationary engines which have driven the farming industry in years gone by and is a committed white baiter. Ann is very active in Rural Women New Zealand.

John Carmody

John lives in Dunedin where he manages private client portfolios at Craigs Investment Partners. John previously worked for ANZ where he managed the agribusiness portfolio. John and Phil met when working together for The Rural Bank in Greymouth. John is a loyal Otago supporter and a keen fisherman, shooter and white baiter.

Stu & Jan Moir

Stu and Jan are the dairy farmers of the group. Stu had just started his first sharemilking job on the West Coast, after leaving The Rural Bank, when he and Phil first met. Since then Stu and Jan have established a large and successful dairy farming enterprise on the West Coast and in Canterbury where they live. Stu and Jan are keen outdoors people who are great providers of wild cuisine at the annual meeting.