PJ Charteris and Christina Pattison are a trans-Tasman love story. They come from either side of the ditch and Charteris draws on a deep well of experience, respect and sheer goodwill from Central Otago to the Hunter and far beyond. Kiwi-born PJ cut his teeth in Waikato before studying winemaking at Roseworthy and working stints in the Hunter Valley, Coonawarra, Clare and Oregon. He went on to join the winemaking team at Lindemans in Mildura and then Penfolds in the Barossa. He returned to the Hunter Valley in 1999 to take up the position of winemaker at Brokenwood, where he met Christina during a distinguished 12-year career.
The couple scoured Australia and New Zealand for the ideal site/variety combination and finally found it in the guise of the Winter Vineyard, a top Pinot Noir site with the A-list address of Felton Road, Bannockburn in Central Otago. The first vintage was 2008; three years later PJ bid farewell to Brokenwood to focus on the fledgling family label. Charteris makes single-vineyard Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, plus a Central Otago Pinot conceived by PJ to keep Christina’s hands off the Winter Vineyard museum stock.
“What does Central Otago taste like?” ponders PJ. “In my mind’s eye I have an idea but every year the stars will align to give me a slightly different picture. It is going to be an exciting journey.”
It certainly is. We hope the rest of you will join us for the ride.
About P.J. Charteris
New Zealand-born PJ Charteris has been at it for a while. At age 13 he was already pruning vines at Vilagrad winery in the Waikato, which he then ran for a couple of years when he came of age. In 1988, he left New Zealand to study winemaking at Roseworthy in South Australia. It was there that he met Christina, a marketing manager with previous experience at Rémy Australie. During his 12 years at Brokenwood, PJ earned an outstanding reputation as one of Australia’s foremost talents, including the accolade of Winemaker of the Year from the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association in 2010. He’s also proved himself an important leader in the domestic wine scene, working with Wine Australia and heading judging panels in various wine shows.
Setting up at in Central Otago is something of a spiritual homecoming for PJ, a man whose fine-wine drive and curiosity has previously led him to Paul Jaboulet in the Rhône Valley and Californian Pinot star, Flowers, as well as other parts of France, Spain and Italy.