Urbn Vino 2015 Pinot Noir and The Writer’s Block Pinot Noirs 2013, 2010 and 2009

Brendan Seal is a Central Otago winemaker who specialises in making small parcels of single vineyard wines from unique, one-off picks of fruit. The diversity of the wines and their required winemaking are what make ‘The Writer’s Block’ wines interesting and exciting for him as well as the keen wine enthusiast. To date, he has made five Pinot Noirs, a Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, from fruit grown in the Bannockburn, Alexandra, Bendigo, Northburn and Lowburn sub-regions under his label, as well as wines for contract clients at his Packspur Wine Studio. www.thewritersblock.co.nz

As if Brendan wasn’t busy enough, he has embarked on another venture named ‘URBN VINO’ with which he will bring winemaking of Central Otago wines into Dunedin city. By doing so, there is a much closer interaction with the market. The concept of wineries within urban spaces is not new and there are successful examples in San Diego, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco in the U.S.A. and in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney in Australia. The urban wineries are following the lead of craft breweries which are site in the heart of cities, and not just in the industrial suburbs.

In April 2016, Brendan tested the viability of the URBN VINO project with a ‘pop up’ urban winery in one of the Dunedin’s heritage buildings undergoing renovation. It was deemed a success, and has inspired Brendan to do it again for the 2017 harvest. Brendan has begun to crowdfund the project, and has released the ‘Urbn Vino’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015 which purchases through www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects will see the funds go towards the project. Brendan needs $18,400 to purchase 4 tonnes of Pinot Noir grapes and $4,600 for the oak barrels to mature the wine in. Any excess will go towards a permanent urban winery from the 2018 vintage. At the time of writing, Brendan has received pledges for half the amount required, and the time limit is 10.00 pm, 6 November 2016.

Here, I review the Urbn Vino Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015, which can be purchased for $42.00 through www.pledgeme.co.nz and the three premium ‘The Writer’s Block’ Pinot Noirs made by Brendan to date, these being the 2013, 2010 and 2009, the Urbn Vino wine made to a comparable standard as these. The reviews of The Writer’s Block Pinot Noirs will also give an indication of the aging ability of the new wine. I found the wines very expressive of their vintages, the 2015 a cooler year, the 2013 showing ripeness and elegance, the 2010 ripeness and fullness, and the 2009 showing cedary, secondary development www.urbnvino.nz

Disclaimer: The Writer’s Block wines (but not the Urbn Vino) are distributed by ‘Wine2Trade’, the company under which ‘Raymond Chan Wine Reviews’ operates


  • Urbn Vino Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2015
  • The Writer’s Block Bendigo Central Otago Pinot Noir 2013
  • The Writer’s Block Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
  • The Writer’s Block Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009

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