Gordon Russell, Senior Winemaker
Gordon Russell has established himself as one of New Zealand's most recognisable winemaking identities with his passionate approach to winemaking, and the enormous success he has achieved with his wines in tastings and competitions.
Gordon was born in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Following University, his desire to travel took him to England and Europe for three years. Gordon had always been interested in different flavours and trying new foods, and during his time abroad he also developed an appreciation for fine wine.
In 1986 Gordon returned to New Zealand, just when the wine styles for which New Zealand has become highly regarded were beginning to emerge. He was appointed as Esk Valley winemaker in 1993, after working for Villa Maria in Auckland starting as a cellar hand from 1987, then becoming Cellar Foreman under Villa Maria's winemaker at the time Kym Milne MW. Gordon moved to Esk Valley as assistant winemaker to Grant Edmonds from 1990 and within a few years had been promoted to the position of Winemaker, which he has now held for more than 20 years.
Gordon believes that the concept of 'texture' in a wine is as important as the aromas and flavours of the wine. By 'texture' he means the balance and harmony of the wine, together with complexity and palate interest. He aims to produce premium hand-crafted wines that are both elegant and sophisticated, and which truly reflect the character of the individual vineyards.