The Winemaker

Dean Shaw

Our wines are created by Dean Shaw of The Central Otago Wine Company (COWCo) in Cromwell. Dean is an extremely talented character with a somewhat droll sense of humour and an absolute passion for Pinot Noir.

With a post graduate degree in Viticulture and Wine Science from Lincoln University in Canterbury, Dean first came to Central Otago to work at Rippon Vineyard with Clotilde Chauvet in 1994 and 1995. He then spent two years at Giesen Wine Estate (Canterbury, NZ) working for Rudi Bauer. He also worked at Blackridge Estate in Alexandra before settling in Cromwell as a partner in COWCo, which provides contract winemaking facilities for local producers.

Like most New Zealand winemakers, Dean continues to spend most of our winters immersing himself in the winemaking regions of Champagne, Burgundy, Alsace and South Africa. This travel has augmented his New Zealand education and experience and culminated in his passion for Pinot Noir, and especially the Pinot Noirs of Central Otago.

Dean’s approach as winemaker is a natural one. He prefers to intervene with the wine as little as possible, using wild yeasts and serenading the wine with a stereo system of which most nightclubs would be envious. This approach enables the wine to reflect the character of the vineyard it comes from as faithfully as possible, and ensures individuality and excellence, as well as a good sense of rhythm.