It seems that “Vineyard Manager” doesn’t quite sum up the exuberant personality and many skills of Keith Barker, who’s been part of the team for eight years. We pitched him a few quick questions about life at The Landing.
Hi Keith. What is your role at The Landing?
That is a great question; my card says Vineyard Manager however I also do client wine tastings, actively sell the wine, manage stock control and maintain quality control by continued testing of the wines.
How long have you been at The Landing?
I have been here since our 2010 vintage, which means I was here in 2009.
What do you enjoy about your work?
The variety of work, from tractor driving, to doing tastings for clients, to leaf plucking. The people who work here are amazing and come from a wide range of backgrounds and countries, so conversation is interesting and stimulating. The ability to talk to anyone in this company about anything is both unique and empowering.
What is something interesting about The Landing wines?
On the 26th of September in 1819, Samuel Marsden wrote from Rangihoua next door to The Landing that “New Zealand promises to be very favourable to the vine, so far as I can judge at the present, of the nature of the soil and climate. Should the vine succeed, it will prove of vast importance to this part of the globe”. 198 years later we have taken his recommendation.
What got you into the wine industry?
Like many people I travelled through France and we stopped at Champagne. We spent two weeks at the municipal campground and drank different champagne every day, under the guidance of the local Deli owner whom we purchased the wine from, as well as lunch.
This got me hooked and I wanted to learn more about the whole process, which in Champagne is fascinating. This experience soon led me to a job for Glengarry in Auckland when I came home, and the rest followed on from there.
What makes The Landing wines different?
They have a complex fruit profile combined with a compelling minerality that can only be found on this particular site. The clay soils and sea-facing slopes create a paradox between the fruit and the structure of the wine, which makes you want to come back for more.