Carol Bunn, winemaker

DSC_0603_Carol_smallWinemaker Carol Bunn was just a kid when one of Central Otago’s first vineyards was planted close to her parent’s Arrowtown farm, sparking her interest in viticulture.

Carol completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography and worked in resource management before making a career change in 1995, to get back to her farming roots. She completed a postgraduate diploma in Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln University in Canterbury, preparing for her new life in winemaking.

Carol started her winemaking career in Martinborough, gaining invaluable experience with Pinot Noir under the watchful eye of renowned winemaker Larry McKenna. She completed vintages abroad in Oregon and Bordeaux, and worked as a winemaker in Canterbury for three years. In 2001, she started plying her craft back where she grew up in Central Otago, building a stellar reputation early on with the trophy-winning Pinot Noirs she crafted for Akarua Winery. The Akarua Pinot Noir 2002 won Champion Pinot Noir and Champion Wine of the show at the prestigious Air NZ Wine Awards in 2003.

With her growing stature as “Queen of Pinot Noir” in the region, VinPro Ltd approached Carol in 2004 to set up, build and take the reins of their new contract winemaking facility in Cromwell. In this capacity, Carol works with 18 different wine companies, including Mitre Rocks Vineyards, to craft their wines.

“My philosophy is to work in closely with my clients to consistently produce great wines which reflect each individual vineyard’s terroir. Every vineyard has its distinctive qualities which we preserve and enhance,” says Carol.

She prefers to take a minimalist approach to winemaking, seeing her role as a caretaker of the wines, rather than a manipulator of the wine character and style.

Carol works closely with Roy McCallum of Mitre Rocks Vineyards on the production of Mount Dottrel and Mitre Rocks wine. Throughout the season, she actively liaises with us on vineyard management to bring out the best in our terroir, so that the special characters and flavours of our vineyard will be expressed in the wine.

The partnership between Mitre Rocks Vineyards and Carol Bunn has proven to be inspired from its inception. The first two wines we ever made together had exceptional success at the 2008 Sydney International Wine Competition – one winning the trophy for best rosé and the other being named joint runner up for best Pinot Noir!

“Both the vineyard and the team at Mitre Rocks present some very striking characters!” says Carol. “It’s very rewarding to work with them.”