For quite some time, Verdun Burgess and Sue Edwards’ ‘Black Ridge’ vineyard held the title of being the world’s southernmost winegrowing area, at latitude 45.15S. Over the course of time there have been other sites in Otago further south planted, but these did not last. There is now a large development in Argentina at 45.33S which has taken the title. Although the northern hemisphere has winegrowing areas closer to the north pole, Central Otago, and Alexandra remains as one of the most southern, and with a long track record.
Living in Alexandra has given Ric Oram the ability to get to know the winemaking scene intimately. In researching the book, he visited every winegrower in the district. In the book he profiles most of them from the tiniest to those that are a little larger. None of the Alexandra producers is large, though Sam Neill’s Two Paddocks is probably the most commercially viable in terms of economies of scale. The portraits are succinct and cover the owners’ philosophy and practical reasons, more than detail on plantings and wine. But it’s the human element that is most important here. Though I have visited and taken an active interest in the Alexandra sub-region, Oram has dug out details on much more than I ever knew, and his portraits capture personalities and impressions very much as I see them.
Ric Oram and Louise Joyce, Alexandra, 2018, ISBN 978-0-473-42853-2