Q&A with winemaker, Emma Lowe
New Zealand winemaker, Emma Lowe & Chilean vineyard manager, Marcelo, moved from Chile to Hawke’s Bay to establish Monowai Estate, their vineyard and winery. Here they hand-craft fine wines exclusively grown from their vineyard.
Having been a part of the F.A.W.C! family for many years, this summer Monowai Estate will be returning to the fray with their popular event, ‘The Monowai Low-Down’. We sat down with Emma to chat all things Monowai Estate, and what you can expect from their F.A.W.C! event this November.
Tell us about yourself, and Monowai Estate in Crownthorp
After studying winemaking in Adelaide, Australia and at UC Davis in California, I spent 6 years overseas making wine in Switzerland, South Africa, France and Chile. I ended up staying in Chile for a few years where I met my husband Marcelo. We returned to New Zealand and Hawke's Bay in 2002 and together started developing Monowai Estate. We planted the vines over 2 years and made our first small batches of wine in 2002. Our varieties are Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Merlot and we make varietal wines from each of these wines and a rosé from Pinot Noir. In 2015, we added a new range of reserve wines which we have called Upper Reaches which currently consists of a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir - although we are working on adding some more varieties.
17 years and 2 children later, we still love living here and making our wines. Marcelo looks after the vineyard management and I do the winemaking/sales and admin.
What first drew you to winemaking?
My parents moved to Hawke's Bay from the Waikato when I was in my last year at high school, at a time when the (much smaller) wine industry was growing and becoming an industry of importance in the region. This opened my eyes to the possibilities of working in the wine industry. After talking to some established winemakers, I decided to make this my career. The possibilities for travel and the real mix of science, creativity and hands on work all drew me to this industry.
Have you been influenced by any particular wine regions or winemakers, and how has this influenced your own winemaking?
Every region I have worked in has left an impression and I am sure subconsciously influences my winemaking style. I have worked with many great winemakers over the years and picked up valuable insights from them all.
What is it about F.A.W.C! that you really enjoy, and what draws you to come back with great events?
As a winery without a permanent Cellar door, it is a great the opportunity to invite people to come to our place and see where we are and what we do and simply enjoy sharing a great food and wine experience.
Your event is ‘The Monowai Low-Down’ – can you tell us a bit more about F.A.W.C!ers can expect this summer?
In the style of our previous summer events, we have local musician Rick Toner providing live music. Local caterer Claire Connor will be putting together some delicious platters with a focus on seasonal local fare and, of course, the opportunity to taste our wines and enjoy tours of our beautiful riverside vineyard.