Growing grapes in Central Otago for many years is the difference that defines Shaky Bridge Wines. In 1973, Bill and Gill Grant planted some vines on their 25 acre block on Dunstan Rd just outside the township of Alexandra to 'see what might happen'. Some Muller Thurgau and Chasselas were planted way back then, but Bill and Gill had an inspired moment a few years later when they heard they could get hold of some Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer vines.
A shipment of whole plant Pinot Noir vines arrived from Akaroa, near Christchurch, in the late 1970s and Bill and Gill went to work setting up one of the first Pinot Noir vineyards in Central Otago. There weren't too many believers in Central Otago wines back then, but the Grant's travels around the world had them convinced they could make something happen. We're most happy they ignored the naysayers and blazed a pioneering trail for Central Otago wine.
The eastern side of the 'Home Block' is a sandpit where these original plants, on their original rootstock, continue to thrive every year. The sandy soil has stopped any vine damaging phyloxxera from getting near the roots and the gnarled trunks are a sight any wine lover should stop in and see. The history of our Home Block and the intensity of fruit from our old vines distinguishes Shaky Bridge Wines, creating our very high quality wines each year.
The Shaky Bridge Wines Team
We have a small, passionate, dedicated and highly skilled team based at our winery in Alexandra. Dylan directs seasonal workers to carry out all the necessary activities in the vineyards throughout the year, while we usually find a keen cellar assistant or two to help Dave in the winery during vintage. Our lab assistant Dale keeps all our production records straight and mixes her brews of fining agents and yeast innoculations with her years of experience. Ash works with his sales team within New Zealand and our export markets and is on the road as much as he's at the winery. Our small but accomplished full time team is below. Nice to meet you!
Dylan Turnbull - Vineyard Manager
Born and bred in the Alexandra Basin, Dylan moved to the Coromandel Peninsula after high school and studied the culinary arts at Waikato Polytechnic for several years. Following graduation, Dylan moved to Europe to apply his chefs trade and immerse himself in his OE. Returning to New Zealand in 2002, Dylan swapped his chef's jacket and the stresses of a hot kitchen to work with some pruning secateurs in the great outdoors that is Central Otago. Completing his Certificate in Horticulture, Dylan has over 10 years experience of coaxing the best from our vineyards. Dylan also spent a season working in the vineyards and cellars of Burgundy in 2011. Dylan's philosphy for growing exceptional quality grapes is to treat the vines and soils with respect and care, so that the vine will reward us with grapes of intense flavors, balance and perfection. When he's not spending time with his 3 children and wife, Stevie, Dylan can be found on a tractor, quad bike or working the rows in the various vineyard blocks he manages.
Dave Grant - Winemaker
The son of founders Bill and Gill Grant, Dave was literally born on the Home Block and helped his parents out in the early years of planting vineyards on the Dunstan Road site. Raised in Alexandra, Dave went on to study Mining Engineering at Otago University where he earned an Honours degree. Following graduation, he moved to Australia working as a product specialist in explosives and living in the Australian Outback for several years. In 1995 an opportunity saw Dave return home to manage the vineyards and establish a winery on the Home Block. Studying winemaking through EIT in Hawkes Bay, he began making wine in 1997 and has worked with a number of highly skilled winemakers from around the world over the years. Dave was a finalist in the New Zealand Winemaker of the Year awards in 2005. His philosophy on winemaking stems from his belief that the best wines are crafted by allowing the wines to speak for themseleves. When not working, Dave relaxes (if he can!) with his partner and 6 kids.