For Episode Four of Uncommonly Candid, we shared a can of The Uncommon with our very own winemaker, Digger Hennessy. Digger has been in the winemaking game for more than 35 years, most of it in sunny Marlborough.
Digger shares a bit about how he got into winemaking, what he finds most rewarding about the job and what the future of the industry looks like to him.
This is juicy stuff. Almost as juicy as our grapes. So, grab a can, settle in, and prepare for the can to be let out of the picnic bag…
You’ve been in the industry for a long time, what got you into this field?
I mucked around in my last year of high school, and missed getting into Vet School by about 10%. Turns out that was perhaps a blessing in disguise!
I hadn't really thought about anything else at that stage and decided Oenology might be alright. I didn’t realise it was going to be my gig until my first commercial vintage in the last year of my degree and the rest, as they say, is history.
What’s the most rewarding part of this industry?
I personally love how it allows you to engage in so many disciplines; Science (chemistry and micro), horticulture, creativity and engineering - if that is your bent. All of which are needed to achieve the best wines.
What’s something people don’t know about winemaking that they might find surprising?
It is *fairly* easy to make great wine out of great grapes... the real trick is finding (or growing) those grapes!
What does the future of the wine industry look like to you?
Isn't that the million dollar question! There are many challenges I see on the horizon... a prominent one being that the younger generation are not engaging with the traditional industry. This means our consumer fanbase is shrinking. This means innovation is becoming even more important to engage this younger audience and entice them into the world of wine. Brands need to think outside the box to attract this audience and lean into their values - which is where sustainability and alternative packaging really come in to play.
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
My wife...and her cooking!
Favourite Moment to enjoy a vino?
Anytime the mood is right and the fancy takes me - it usually involves good food and great company.
We hope you’ve enjoyed Episode Four of our Uncommonly Candid mini-series. Keep following along as we have some great episodes to come as sit down with more of our favourite entrepreneurs, experts and cultural creators to find out what really makes them fizz. All over a can of The Uncommon of course!