2019 U3A Alexandra - Session 2 Local Stories

  • Location: Alexandra Community House, 14-20 Centennial Ave, Alexandra
  • Start Date: Friday 1st Nov, 2019.
  • End Date: Friday 1st Nov, 2019.
  • Time: 10.00am - 12.00pm.
  • 1 Weeks.
  • 2 hours per week.
  • Course Fee: $5.00.

U3A Alexandra - Session 2 Local Stories

Speaker: Alan Brady

Winegrowing in Central Otago - From the Wilderness to World Recognition in 40 Years


Brady came to NZ in 1959 as a young journalist.  After a career in print, radio and television media he purchased some land at Gibbston in 1976 and relocated there with his family a year later. After exploring various options for the land he decided to try viticulture and, against the conventional wisdom at the time, planted an experimental vineyard in 1981.  In 1987 he released the region’s first commercial vintage in modern times and formed Gibbston Valley Wines Ltd. The winery and restaurant at Gibbston followed in 1990 and Central Otago was on its way to becoming a world recognised producer of Pinot Noir.  He built a second winery, Mount Edward, at Gibbston in 1998 and is a director of Felton Road Wines.

He was a founding member and president of Central Otago Winegrowers, served on the board of New Zealand Winegrowers and was inducted as a Fellow of that organisation in 2015. He became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the wine industry in 1996 and was inducted to the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame in 2013. Now retired he still makes wine each year under the label Wild Irishman Wines. 

The first Central Otago wines were made by Frenchman Jean Desire Feraud near Clyde in the 1860s.  But while his Monte Christo winery remains standing, winegrowing died out as an industry when he left the region.  It wasn’t until 100 years later that a small group of individuals in Alexandra, the Queenstown area and Wanaka planted vines in the early 1980s. Today Central Otago is New Zealand’s third largest wine region and its Pinot Noir is recognized worldwide for its quality.  This talk will look at the history of modern winemaking in Central and explore some of the reasons for its success in what is a relatively short space of time.


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