Interview James Rowan, Soho Wine Co.

Waiheke winemaker
Waiheke winemaker

Name: James Rowan

Winery: Soho Wine Co

Town/Country: Waiheke Island, New Zealand

  1. Which spot in your vineyard is the most special and why?

There are a few and they’re where you get to see/feel the whole island, and our special little piece of it…oh, there’s down in the new plantings…new ideas…a new future.  Also, there’s a special space in the winery, atop a particular tank, where I can sit and just soak up what it is that we’re making and doing…and try to work out what’s the next step…we’ve a great team around us, they’re as much of the story…

2. If you link the dots in your life, which experience was the most crucial relating to how you make your wine today?

I visited a winemaker when I started studying. I expressed my want to be a winemaker.  His comment was that two clean buckets and a trained monkey makes wine.  What we need to know is how to grow grapes…so I studied viticulture…and now I grow wine.

3. What kind of music do you enjoy listening to when making wine in your cellar?

Neil Young; George Michael; Morrissey; Fleetwood Mac; David Bowie; Sharon Jones; Issac Hayes; Barry White; Nina Simone; Nick Cave; Ella Fitzgerald…

family time in the vineyard
family time in the vineyard

4. Name a regional dish from your area, which matches best with one of your wines.

Barbequed anything…let’s make it scallops, a splash of lime juice…and a Waiheke Chardonnay….or, flashed venison and Syrah?! We live a simple and flavorsome life!

5. Name a restaurant from your recent travels around the world, which changed the way you thought about food and why?

I was in Lyon, in the old quarter, a few years back.  I was young and adamant that eating offal was offensive, but I opened my mind and my palate.  After that I have experienced culinary and personal delight…a closed mind helps no-one. Life is about texture…and that extends across food and wine as much.

Yarrum in Marlborough
Yarrum in Marlborough

6. If your wine would die, who or what would it come back as (person/animal)?

Wine doesn’t die, it does though change. When I’m out hiking and I’m chased/flirted with piwakawaka (our native Fantail) I feel that previous experiences are coming back to me…there’s a lifted life that flashes around me as I walk the path.

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