Nikki’s now in New Zealand

A new vintage hand at Forrest …

Perhaps the post title is a bit of an overstatement – a part vintage hand/part observer, when it all gets far too complicated, at Forrest Wines!

Writers from anywhere aren’t famous for getting their hands dirty, but having written about wine for a number of years, I felt it was way overdue to experience harvest firsthand.

Escape from the box of normality
So having cleverly persuaded work that this was an essential trip and excused myself from family for 10 weeks, I landed first in Australia’s Barossa … just to get a feel of heavyweight reds and how RedHeads – our very small, hands-on winery – worked.

red wine socks

It’s taken a couple of weeks for my hands and feet to lose that dirty black-red-stained look gained from Barossa grapes

Arrival at Forrest
Now I’ve landed at the wonderful Forrest Wines in Marlborough, South Island, to get an idea of how a predominantly white wine winery in this beautiful part of New Zealand functions.

And why Forrest?
Where else? And there are many reasons. For one, Laithwaite’s sells a range of them and, two, I wanted to go to a smaller, handcrafted, family-owned cellar to get properly involved and see lots of different procedures … ideally the process from grape to bottle.


John and Brigid are hugely hospitable and welcoming, and as you’ll know if you read the Forrest website, both are doctors (one in microbiology and the other in medicine), so bring a very analytical, logical approach to winemaking, along with the creative, artistic touch.

And above all …
I thought if a winery produces wines from that many weird and wonderful grape varieties, it’s definitely going to be interesting. Which other cellar grows and vinifies Petit Manseng, Albariño, Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Arneis, Saint Laurent, Malbec … on top of all the ones you’d expect like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, the Cabernets, Syrah. And in guises of dry, nobly rotten sweet, sparkling and still.

arneis post

Who else in New Zealand grows Arneis (above), Petit Manseng, Albariño, Saint Laurent, Malbec … along with the more usual varieties?

“Excellence through Innovation” is certainly 100% true of The Doctor.

Laithwaites Wine

About Laithwaites Wine

Started in 1969, Laithwaite's Wine is still owned and run by Tony and Barbara Laithwaite and their family. We take around 40,000 wines each year to find just 800 that are good enough for our customers and are suitable for every occasion from everyday wines for dinner to celebration sparkling.

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