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Rockburn Winery

New Zealand

The rock star of New Zealand's Central Otago winegrowing region, Rockburn Winery produces premium wines of intense varietal character and consistently captures Gold Medals and Trophy Awards for its efforts.

Named for the rugged, rock-strewn, burn-scarred landscape of Central Otago, New Zealand, Rockburn Winery was founded by Richard (Dick) Bunton in 2001. The winery is one of the pioneers in the world-famous Central Otago region, producing Pinot Noir there for more than 20 years from a landscape that is not only known for its stunning scenery of rugged mountains and picturesque lakes, but also for its trademark rich, bold and intensely flavored Pinot Noirs that thrive in this dramatic and challenging terroir. It is a treat to share one of Rockburn's multi-award-winning Pinot Noirs with our Pinot Noir Wine Club members.

Born in Waianiwa in Central Southland, Dick Bunton is a famous cardiothoracic surgeon who has always had an interest in wine. He started Rockburn as a hobby in the early 1990's, first establishing key vineyards in Gibbston Valley and later in Lowburn. It was his passion for Pinot Noir and his love of the stunning Central Otago region that drove him to start Rockburn Winery. Today, he is also joined by partners Chris James, who developed the winery's sales and distribution network in New Zealand and Australia, and Paul Halford, who brings expertise in finance and marketing to the enterprise. Together, they have built Rockburn into a leading Central Otago winery that consistently garners praise and recognition for its distinctive, terroir-driven wines.

Rockburn Winery is located in the heart of Central Otago, in a small settlement known as Ribbonvale. Nestled on the 45th parallel, Rockburn Winery and its nearby estate vineyards share a climate that is similar to Burgundy, renowned as the great Pinot Noir producing region of the world. Central Otago, which is the most southerly winegrowing region in the world, was once known for its mining industry but the new 'Gold Rush' is for their award-winning Pinot Noirs. Rockburn Winery continues to grow its grapes in Gibbston Valley and Lowburn sub-regions, where harsh and extreme conditions have proven to consistently produce incredible wines.

It is the goal at Rockburn Winery to craft wines that give a pure expression of Central Otago. The team focuses on quality every step of the way and blends the best aspects of their two very unique vineyard sites to craft their award-winning wines. Rockburn's Pinot Noirs have competed and won against some of the world's best, which validates how special and exciting this New Zealand region truly is. Enjoy!

Map of the area

Malcom Rees-Francis - Winemaker

Picture of Malcom Rees-Francis - Winemaker

Winemaker Malcom Rees-Francis joined Rockburn Winery in 2005 and has continued a tradition of excellence, crafting pure, expressive wines from Central Otago, New Zealand.

Malcom was born into a South Canterbury sheep-farming family, and he knew he didn't want to be a farmer for the rest of his life. While studying Microbiology at Otago University, Malcom discovered his love of wine and it set in motion his future career as an award-winning New Zealand winemaker. He started off in Marlborough and eventually settled in Central Otago, where he worked as the Assistant Winemaker at Felton Road Wines' before coming to Rockburn. At Felton Roads, Malcom was devoted to learning about and making fine Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chardonnay - all varietals he continues to produce at Rockburn Winery. His passion for wine and capturing the unique spirit and terroir of Central Otago is now one of the driving forces behind the future direction of Rockburn's wine portfolio.