Nestled in the heart of Central Otago, Carrick Winery produce a range of certified Organic and Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ) wines. Winemaker Rosie Menzies has been with Carrick since 2018 but has been enamoured with wine since the sixth form. “A summer working for a small Central Hawkes Bay vineyard, Lime Rocks, cemented my belief that a career in the wine industry could be incredibly fulfilling,” said Menzies.

Rosie Menzies

After studying a Bachelor of Science at Massey University, followed by a Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology in Lincoln and a Diploma of Wine and Spirits, Menzies’ first official harvest was in 2008 at Ngatarawa. Menzies has always been involved in the wine industry in some regard, citing her appointment as Carrick Winery winemaker as her most significant career achievement to date.

Carrick’s picturesque location allows the wines to produce unique flavours and characteristics. Menzies cited the firm tannin profile, linearity and strong acid line as reflections of the striking landscape, semi-continental climate, wind and poor alluvial glacial soils. Land is more important than just what it offers a vineyard, according to Menzies. “We are guardians of our land and look to continuous improvement of our soils and site through organic management, developing biodiversity and looking after the people who look after our site. Wine is our expression of our place; we, therefore, pursue a path where this can be best reflected.” Biodiversity is essential to Menzies and Carrick, and they have been exploring ways in which they can incorporate this into their land. “We have continued cover cropping, recently begun an insectary, are increasing our native plantings, and our compost production.” They have also increased the size of the kitchen garden to provide more fruit, herbs and vegetables for the restaurant.

Menzies believes that people, place, conviction and knowledge make good wine. At the moment, Menzies said that she is enjoying Carrick’s 2017 Electric No.1—a field blend of all of the white varieties of Carrick. Through Carrick, Menzies hopes to be able to develop the structure, balance and complexities of the different varieties.

Climate change is a hot topic circulating the wine industry and shaping the future of winegrowing and making. “It is hard to gain perspective on this yet, but we will likely see more extreme weather events making the season harder to manage and perhaps we will need to look at different varieties as well as potential implications of restricted water use for cleaning in the winery. We are already looking for ways we can reduce our need for our finite resources.”

Outside of wine, Menzies enjoys getting out and exploring the mountains and lakes of Central Otago. “But cooking and gardening are also good down-time favourites.” Looking ahead, Menzies hopes to be able to continue refining and improving the Carrick Wines through constant exploration and understanding of the wines the site gives them.