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Judges' Résumés 2018 SIWC

Brent Marris (NZ). Twelth Term Panellist.

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Brent Marris (NZ)

Proprietor/Chief Winemaker
Marisco Vineyards, Marlborough, NZ

Brent Marris inherited a solid foundation for a life devoted to winemaking and viticulture. He grew up on one of the first contract vineyards in Marlborough established by his parents in 1978. Inspired and encouraged by his father, John Marris, he graduated from Roseworthy Agricultural College (South Australia) in 1983 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Oenology (Winemaking) thus becoming Marlborough’s first locally born, and raised, qualified winemaker.

Fourteen years as Chief Winemaker for Delegats Wine Estate followed and this included establishing the “Oyster Bay” wine style.

Brent returned to his roots in Marlborough in 1994 creating the “Wither Hills” brand. In a short time Wither Hills was critically acclaimed as making some of the highest quality wines of the region. In 2002 Brent sold Wither Hills to multi-national beverage company Lion Nathan.

Seeking new challenges, Brent searched the Marlborough region for the “ideal” single vineyard site to establish a new international brand. In 2003 he purchased a near perfect location– 268ha, made up of three terraces of ancient river beds on the banks of the Waihopai River, offering the diversity of terroirs that most winemakers can only dream about. Here “The Ned”, named after the mountain overlooking Marlborough’s wine country, was established in 2006 from fruit grown on this wonderful site.

A “new generation” winery has been built on the site and with this a new name for the next adventure. Brent researched his family tree and found his name derived from William de Marisco, a descendant of King Henry 1st. “Marisco Vineyards” is the new name and he celebrates his scandalous ancestors with a range of wines “The Kings Series” now launched world-wide.

2012 saw the purchase of Leefield Station (2,200ha), 4km from the Waihopai Vineyard, allowing a further 800ha to be planted on some amazingly exciting Marlborough country. This will allow “The Ned” and “The Kings Series” brands to grow while the team at Marisco Vineyards continues to control its own destiny of growing and making wine off its own sites.

Brent has been at the forefront of New Zealand's viticulture development. He is one of New Zealand's most respected winemakers. With more than thirty years of grape growing, winemaking and marketing experience, Brent’s history of crafting wines for the world’s markets are testament to his passion.

Brent’s eldest daughter, Emma, has completed her degree in winemaking and along with her three younger sisters will ensure the history of Marisco Vineyards continues.

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