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Featured Wineries

The 2016 Featured Wineries will be announced in early spring. Shown below are Featured Wineries from 2015.

Interested in being a Featured Winery in 2016? See Domestic Winery Participation or Foreign Winery Participation.

ELDRIDGE ESTATE (Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula)
Represented by David Lloyd

David Lloyd is the winemaker/proprietor of Eldridge Estate on the Mornington Peninsula, 60 miles South of Melbourne, Australia. Born in South Australia, David started making Cabernet Sauvignon in Coonawarra in the mid-1970s. He consulted across Victoria from 1981 to 1995 and during that time, he fell in love with Pinot noir. He and his late wife Wendy investigated vineyard sites in New Zealand and Australia. They purchased a property with eight acres of 10-year-old vines in 1995 in what is accepted as one of the coolest sites to grow Pinot noir in Australia. Since purchasing the property, David has changed the trellis system from vertical shoot positioned canopy to that designed by Oregon pioneer Scott Henry. He has also top-grafted vines to change from a single clone of Pinot noir to the current eight clones, plus six clones of Chardonnay. David trained as a research pharmacologist, but these days considers himself a winemaker, having produced wine for the past 40 years.

CAPITELLO (Marlborough)
Represented by Ray Walsh

Wine wasn't on Ray's mind as a young man trudging through the vineyards surrounding his home in Auckland, New Zealand, blasting black powder at crop-stealing birds, sending them scattering and squawking into foggy morning skies. His love of adventure took him to Europe, where he worked his way through the vineyards, learning as he went and as opportunities came along. Ray continued his study of enology back home in New Zealand, and before long, Ray was creating wine for Villa Maria and then Coopers Creek. In 1993, Ray was recruited as cellar master by King Estate, and in 1999, he was named winemaker. Ray started his own craft artisan brand, Capitello Wines, in 2003. Ray and his family live in Eugene, Oregon, where their wines are produced and their tasting room is located, but they head to New Zealand each spring to work harvest and produce additional wines from the Marlborough region. “I learned about grape growing in New Zealand, and I learned about winemaking here in Oregon, so I feel really blessed to be able to produce wines from each distinctive region to showcase the stark contrasts of terroir from opposite ends of the world.”

ESCARPMENT (Martinborough)
Represented by Larry McKenna

Larry McKenna might easily be described as the Prince of Martinborough Pinot. Larry was born and bred in Adelaide, South Australia, graduated from Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1976, and has nearly three decades of winemaking experience under his belt. After traveling for a stint through Europe sampling the wine culture, he 'cut his teeth' at Delegat's Wine Estate in Auckland, New Zealand. In 1986, Larry left Auckland to take up the position of CEO/winemaker at Martinborough Vineyard in the Wairarapa region. From 1986 to 1999, he grew this company from 20 to 160 tons and firmly put Martinborough Vineyard, and himself, on the world map as one of the pre-eminent New World Pinot noir winegrowers. Since 1999, Larry has been director and winemaker for Escarpment Vineyard. Escarpment was established with a simple aim: to continually produce the very best of tomorrow's definitive New World wines. Escarpment aims to reward wine lovers with progressive and suggestive wines that encourage them to venture to the edge of wine loving and appreciation.

LOVEBLOCK (Central Otago)
Represented by Erica Crawford

Erica, a graduate of the University of Cape Town, started life as an aspirational medical scientist and then progressed to the pharmaceutical industry. Erica made New Zealand home after marrying winemaker Kim Crawford. For nine years, Erica and Kim forged a brand and then sold their company. Loveblock heralds their return to the industry. Erica is an active member of the Global Women New Zealand Advisory Board, an organization which works to expand the influence of women and helps to shape and mentor emerging leaders. She holds a number of directorships, both in the wine industry and in other sectors.

TWO PADDOCKS (Central Otago)
Represented by Sam Neill

Two Paddocks is a small family wine producing business entirely dedicated to making great wine. It started in 1993 with modest ambitions and five acres of Pinot noir in the original little vineyard at Gibbston, Central Otago. At the same time, friend Roger Donaldson planted the land next door, hence the name Two Paddocks. The original vineyard has now been augmented by two other small, superbly sited vineyards in the Alexandra district, and Redbank, a lovely 130-acre farm nestled between two dramatic rocky escarpments. "We hope and trust that you will enjoy Two Paddocks wine, as much as we enjoy making it. We certainly enjoy drinking it, which makes it a little scarcer than perhaps it might be otherwise."

Represented by Anthony Hamilton Russell & Olive Hamilton Russell

Hamilton Russell Vineyards—one of the most southerly wine estates in Africa and one of the closest to the sea—pioneered viticulture and winemaking in the beautiful, cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation. The estate specializes in producing highly individual, terroir-driven Pinot noir and Chardonnay, which are widely regarded as the best in South Africa and among the finest in the New World. Founder, Tim Hamilton Russell, purchased the undeveloped 170-hectare property in 1975, after an exhaustive search for the most southerly site on which to make South Africa's top cool climate wines from a selection of noble varieties. His son, Anthony Hamilton Russell, who took over in 1991, narrowed the range to Pinot noir and Chardonnay only and registered Hamilton Russell Vineyards as an estate, committing to work only with grapes from their terroir. Anthony with his wife Olive, winemaker Emul Ross, and viticulturist Johan Montgomery are completely dedicated to expressing the personality of the vineyards terroir in their wines. Tiny yields and intense worldwide demand keep the elegant, highly-individual, estate-grown Pinot noir and Chardonnay in very short supply.