McDonald is a multi-award winning winemaker with a seriously impressive resumé, and it’s taken us quite a while to collar him for a quick interview, here’s what he had to say.
Rod is a winemaker with quite a following. For the best part of a decade he made wine at Vidal, one of New Zealand’s largest producers where he cut his teeth in the Hawkes Bay producing quality Syrah. In 2006 he was awarded Winemaker of the Year in NZ and started his own project, Te Awanga shortly after that. McDonald is a multi-award winning winemaker with a seriously impressive resumé, and it’s taken us quite a while to collar him for a quick interview, here’s what he had to say.
Why did you decide to get into winemaking?
I always thought I’d end up farming, either horticulture or livestock. When I was shown what grape-growing and winemaking was all about, I was blown away by the physical, intellectual and business challenge. When I started to learn about the history of wine and it’s importance in shaping the world we live in, game-over.
Do you have a favourite wine or wine region outside of your own?
Probably Northern Rhone, but choosing is tough. For me the wines and people are an intriguing mix of a tough climate, landscape and a rich history. They can be rustic, powerful, restrained and elegant all the same time. Full of personality.
What grape do you like working with the most and why?
Syrah. Still trying to unlock the best expression... perfumed, complex, layered. So much not understood about how it grows compared to other varieties and how to unlock it’s potential once it’s in the fermenter!
Helena Bonham Carter…she looks just like my wife Jo!
Favourite type of music/artist?
Pretty eclectic. I love the NPR Tiny Desk Concerts, especially the paired back Appalachian and Soul stuff.
Fun fact about you that has nothing to do with wine?
Apart from hanging around with Jo and the kids, one of my favourite things is buggering around with old trucks, cars and motorbikes... I will happily spend hours pulling them apart, learning how they work and putting them back together. Only to have them run no better than when I started… and still not feel like it was a complete waste of time!
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