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Vineyards, Marlborough, NZ
Brent Marris inherited a
solid foundation for a life devoted to winemaking and viticulture. He grew up
on one of the first contract vineyards in Marlborough established by his
parents in 1978. Inspired and encouraged by his father, John Marris, he
graduated from Roseworthy Agricultural College (South Australia) in 1983 with a
Bachelor of Applied Science in Oenology (Winemaking) thus becoming Marlborough’s first locally born, and raised, qualified
Fourteen years as
Chief Winemaker for Delegats Wine Estate followed and this included
establishing the “Oyster Bay” wine style.
Brent returned to his roots in Marlborough in 1994
creating the “Wither Hills” brand. In a short time Wither Hills was
critically acclaimed as making some of the highest quality wines of the region.
In 2002 Brent sold Wither Hills to multi-national beverage company Lion Nathan.
Seeking new challenges, Brent
searched the Marlborough region for the “ideal” single vineyard site to establish a new
international brand. In 2003 he purchased a near perfect location– 268ha, made up of three terraces of ancient
river beds on the banks of the Waihopai River, offering the diversity of
terroirs that most winemakers can only dream about. Here “The
Ned”, named after the mountain
overlooking Marlborough’s wine country,
was established in 2006 from fruit grown on this wonderful site.
generation” winery has been built on the
site and with this a new name for the next adventure. Brent researched his
family tree and found his name derived from William de Marisco, a descendant of
King Henry 1st. “Marisco Vineyards” is the new name and he celebrates his
scandalous ancestors with a range of wines “The
Kings Series” now launched world-wide.
2012 saw the purchase of Leefield
Station (2,200ha), 4km from the Waihopai Vineyard, allowing a further 800ha to
be planted on some amazingly exciting Marlborough country. This will allow “The Ned”
and “The Kings Series” brands to grow while the team at Marisco
Vineyards continues to control its own destiny of growing and making wine off
its own sites.
Brent has been
at the forefront of New Zealand's viticulture development. He is one of New
Zealand's most respected winemakers. With more than thirty years of grape growing,
winemaking and marketing experience, Brent’s
history of crafting wines for the world’s
markets are testament to his passion.
Brent’s eldest daughter,
Emma, has completed her degree in winemaking and along with her three younger
sisters will ensure the history of Marisco Vineyards continues.