Matthew Sutherland from Dog Point Talks with Specialist Cellars

The New Zealand Cellar sits down with Matthew Sutherland from Dog Point to discuss all things wine in our “Down In The Cellar” series.

Who do you admire most in the world of wine and why?

Probably my father. He is a pioneer of the industry in Marlborough and is probably the hardest worker I know. He is always the first at work and the last to leave. The integrity of the industry is always at the forefront of his mind. He is not afraid to take risks and push the boundaries. He shares his wine also!

What wine variety are you most excited about for its future in NZ?

Sauvignon Blanc  – we are only scratching the surface. We need to narrow the focus on what we grow and make it all world class. Start talking about our vineyards and sub-regions more and the affect they have on wine style. We have an opportunity to push the boundaries of the Sauvignon variety. We have come a long way in short time, now it is time to raise the bar. Appellation Marlborough Wine is a great start.

Have you had a “wine moment” ? Like a specific point in time where you knew you wanted to work in the wine industry?

I have been surrounded by vineyards my entire life so I guess I have never really had a wine moment, as it has always been a constant through my life and with my family. It is more the people I meet, rather than the wine I drink, that makes me want to be a part of the industry.

I love wine but connecting with people all over the world who share the same values and have amazing history and stories to tell, that is what I love most. I have made some incredible friends through the industry. The 1993 Rousseau Chambertin was pretty good though aye James Healy….

What are your favourite wines available from the Specialist Cellar collection?

Apart from Dog Point, I love:
Kumeu River Mates Chardonnay
Wines by Farr Pinot Noir
Greywacke Wild Sauvignon
Giant Steps Yarra Valley Pinot
Although not listed… Maude Pinot Noir

Is there a specific wine region you benchmark your wine against?

We take a lot of inspiration from the old world, areas like Sancerre and throughout Burgundy but we always look to make regionally distinctive wines.

What is your biggest learning curve you’ve met working in the industry?

My colleague Murray Cook and I decided we would save money and hire a canal boat in Paris rather than pay the ridiculous prices for a hotel . It was about 50 degree, the rats were in residence and there was only one double room and then two bunk beds. A friend of ours who was on holiday at the time joined us. He screamed most the night because he ate too much cheese and was having nightmares. We never really got over jet-lag that trip as a result. Sometimes you are better to just pay more and get your own room, ditch the rats and don’t serve cheese!

We have recently opened our other half ‘The Australian Cellar’ – have you tasted many Australian wines and if so which region are you most excited for?

All the time, I always enjoy drinking wines from Mornington Peninsula and Tasmania.

So – set the scene for us. You are having the night of your life….

What are you drinking (from your range)?
2007 Pinot Noir in Magnum

Who are you drinking it with?
My son Harry and daughter Lucy – they love wine

What are you eating?
Sausages and mash potato

And what music is playing?
The Wiggles ……that’s why I need a magnum

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