Chateau Garage – Ollie Powrie debuted Cornerstone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2021


Photo credit: Richard Brimer

Do you have a lightbulb moment with wine? For Ollie Powrie, it was the Beaujolais harvest in 1999. Ollie and his wife Rebecca were backpacking in France in their battered VW van, hand harvesting grapes by day and enjoying the company of other harvest workers, tasting wine by night. He was fascinated by wine and its stories, the vineyards, the growers, the makers and the ever-changing seasons. He realised that his future was in wine. On his return, Ollie went to study viticulture and winemaking at EIT, Hawkes Bay. After a few more harvests in New Zealand and France, Ollie landed the Chief Viticulturist role for Villa Maria in 2007, where he spent the next 15 years. His obsession with producing high-quality fruit and sustainability top of mind became a crucial part of New Zealand's Most Awarded Winery success.

Each year, Oille would bring home a small parcel of grapes to ferment in his Chateau, Chateau Garage (pictured above), joined by family and friends, creating memorable moments and closure to his role as a viticulturist.

Chateau Garage got real in March 2021, when Ollie had the chance to purchase Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from the Cornerstone Vineyard owned by Bob Newton and Dinah Kennedy. The famous vineyard is planted on stony, gravelly soils and produces structural, rich flavoured fruit. Ollie recalled, "The aromas were so intoxicating during fermentation that Ollie decided to buy some new French oak barrels. After fermentation, the wine was gently pressed and hand poured into the barrels. Ollie still talks of the unforgettable sensation of the rush of aromas of virgin oak and ripe Cabernet, as he tipped the first wine into the new barrels."

Twenty cases of a special wine named 'Hugo' was bottled; blended from three selected barrels which best expressed the terroir. As well as an organic Syrah in the range. You can find his wines on https://www.chateaugarage.co.nz/.

Ollie's passion and style have clearly shown through his wine; the purity of fruit and balance of oak was impressive. I look forward to seeing more of Chateau Garage's production.


  • Chateau Garage Cornerstone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2021, Hawke’s Bay

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