edited by Sue Courtney
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Pioneers of New Zealand Wine
published in 2002 by Reed Books / Southern Cross Books
ISBN 0 7900 0832 7
It took me years to find a copy of one of the most important reference works in the history of New Zealand Wine. Winemakers of New Zealand by Dick Scott was published in 1964 and I reviewed the book (click here) on www.wineoftheweek.com in August of 1999. At that time I was continually borrowing a well fingered University library copy but shortly after that review my search for my own copy (at a reasonable price) was realised. I finally had my own copy of this valuable text - what's more it had never been pre-owned.
I'm absolutely delighted that Dick Scott's historic masterpiece has been revived as Pioneers of New Zealand Wine. The text is the same, as are many of the illustrations from the original, but what makes 'Pioneers of New Zealand Wine' extra special is the inclusion of dramatic black and white photographs by Marti Friedlander.
Dick Scott's association with Marti Friedlander began shortly after the publication of Winemakers of New Zealand. Scott had just started producing Wine Review, the New Zealand wine industry's first journal, which was published quarterly until 1978. About that time he opened the weekly radio magazine, 'The Listener', to be captivated by the striking photographic portraits taken by a new immigrant from England, Marti Friedlander. He commissioned her to take her to take photographs for Wine Review.
It is the marriage of Marti Friedlander's photographs from Wine Review with Dick Scott's original text that makes Pioneers of New Zealand Wine an extra special publication. The photographs bridge the gap from where the text leaves off in 1964 to the birth of the modern wine industry, as we know it today. It is a recollection of the industry that was and the start of the future - indeed photographs of Montana's historic planting of Marlborough are included.
Ms Friedlander has a unique talent in capturing the spirit of the people. She brings to life the characters whose passion in producing sometimes undrinkable wine made a solid foundation for the wine industry that is today.
The pair first sought out the Yugoslavs winemakers of West Auckland because of their warmth and generosity. "Even if they made 'plonk', the warmth of the people made up for it", they said. While Scott was taken in by the wine, Ms Friedlander was taken in by the people and the light. For her, the vineyards were about the working man.
They travelled the vineyards of the country finding people of many different nationalities working in the New Zealand 'world of wine' and one section of the book covers these characters. They include the young Czechoslovakian, Peter Hubscher, tramping grapes with gusto back in 1973. Hubscher is of course now the Managing Director of Montana Wines and the Chairman of the Winegrowers of New Zealand.
One of the photographic highlights of Ms Friedlander's career, she says, was the portrait of Italian winemaker, Antonio Zame of Capri Vineyards in Gisborne. This is the photograph that graces the cover of 'Pioneers of New Zealand Wine' (pictured above).
Pioneers of New Zealand Wine is an essential addition to the library of anyone who is interested in the history of the New Zealand wine industry, after all we have to know where we have been to know where we are going.
Pioneers of New Zealand Wine by Dick Scott with photographs by Marti Friedlander is published by Reed Publishing, Auckland. The retail price is NZ $54.95. Overseas people who have an interest in the book can purchase from Reed's website - check here for details.
Some parts of this review appeared in my column in The Rodney Times dated 27 June 2002.
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