Gordon Russell


Gordon has been the winemaker at Esk Valley since 1993. “Although we are renowned for our Merlot-based Gimblett Gravels reds and ‘The Terraces’, Esk Valley has also been an industry pioneer bottling New Zealand’s first Verdelho in 2002, first Malbec in 1999 and the now well-loved Hawkes Bay Merlot, Malbec blend. Old fashioned artisanal values including fermenting all our premium reds in concrete are still an integral part of our philosophy and make Esk Valley wines unique and special.”

Gordon Russell has established himself as one of New Zealand's most recognised 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, Gordon's 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. Gordon was appointed as Esk Valley winemaker in 1993, after working for Villa Maria in Auckland as a cellar hand from 1987 and then as assistant winemaker to Grant Edmonds at Esk Valley from 1990.

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.

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