Tasting the fruits of his labour is a perk of the job for Greg Lane.
Originally from Adelaide, the Mt Difficulty chief winemaker came to Cromwell after developing a love for pinot noir — and the region.
Mr Lane started in the industry in Adelaide 15 years ago, working in Central Otago after he finished university.
To find himself back in the region making pinot noir was a ‘‘lovely full-circle moment’’.
‘‘To be back making pinot in Central was always our life goal,’’ he said.
‘‘The opportunity to come to Mt Difficulty, which is such a strong brand in Central Otago and New Zealand, was really exciting.’’
‘‘We’ve got some of the oldest vines in Central Otago and some really great fruit to work with.’’
The nature of the role meant every day was different, and some seasons were more challenging than others, but that was part of the appeal.
He loved the tangible aspect of being able to hold a bottle of wine at the end of the season and have it sum up a whole season
‘‘Winemaking is . . . an intersection of science, working with nature . . . farming, and also there’s a creative interpretation of what the season gives you.
‘‘To be able to make good wine here is a real challenge.’’
Mt Difficulty’s first vintage was back in 1998 and previous winemaker Matt Dicey had set the wine up well for ageing, Mr Lane said.
The vineyard was ‘‘coming of age’’and with vines now reaching more than 20 years of age, the fruit was starting to develop ‘‘complexity and evenness’’.
To help people experience the winery’s aged wines, the Mt Difficulty cellar door had introduced Cellar Sundays, where each Sunday Mr Lane selected a different wine from the winery’s library.
It was an opportunity to introduce those who may not normally purchase a bottle, to try a glass, he said.
‘‘It’s just great to be able to open these bottles and show people what can happen when you have a bit of patience.’’
Mt Difficulty had also introduced Apres Ski for the first time this winter, extending the cellar door experience, Mr Lane said.