Central Otago has become my spiritual home. Having the where-with-all and experience to make great Pinot Noir with great people in a great place with the love and support of my family enables the focus and energy to embark on the new challenge that is Matt Connell Wines.
Born in Taranaki, growing up in Christchurch, armed with a degree in Parks and Recreation management, is certainly not indicative of a passion for the creation of great Pinot Noir. The necessity of funding an education through working in hospitality and especially at the iconic Galbraiths in Auckland created two life changing events. Firstly meeting my wife Beth, secondly exposure to and the appreciation of the crafting of great beer and wine sparking enough interest to return to university to complete a post-grad degree in Oenology and Viticulture in 2001.
Time at Wynns of Coonawarra, Elk Cove Oregon, Peregrine, Olssens of Bannockburn where the rigours of contract winemaking, juggling the exacting and varying requirements of multiple boutique brand owners and more recently 7 years as winemaker and general manager of Akarua have given me the opportunity to hone my craft and develop a sense of self and belonging.
During my time at Akarua I was able to re-establish it as one of New Zealand’s premium pinot noir producers. Each Akarua Pinot from my first in 2009 until my last in 2015 won a major trophy but winning the Red Wine of Show and Pinot Noir Trophy at the Six Nations Wine Challenge 2012 and again in 2016 topped them all.
Matt Connell Wines is all about my rendition of the best that Central Otago can produce. You are welcome to join me - enjoy the results of my craft and the fruits of our land.