Many wine professionals claim to have winemaking in their blood.
For Petter we think that might just be true.
He’s been described as a veteran in the industry by some and for very good reason.
Petter started working in the vineyard at 15. Not just your run of the mill, commercial vineyard, a “hobby” vineyard owned by family friends who planted a few rows of each variety. Grape growing in Canterbury was very experimental at the time, in fact very few people were doing it. Not long before, Lincoln University conducted research on the suitability of Canterbury as a grape growing region and a few intrepid growers took up the challenge.
This experimental approach to Canterbury viticulture planted the seed so to speak and before long Petter was growing vines from cuttings at his home. He also built his own wine press and wine cellar under the house. Petter didn’t strike immediate success however, the first few batches of wine made in these early days he describes as less than successful.
In 1981 petter worked his first harvest in the vineyard for collards and then montana in their bottling plant.
Winemaking was not a well-trodden career path in New Zealand and study options were limited for wannabe winemakers. The only option was to study overseas and in 1982 Petter travelled to South Australia to attend Roseworthy Agriculture College along with four other New Zealand students.
This was the start of an illustrious career which has seen Petter complete harvests at Chateau Remy in Australia, a small family winery in Barden, Germany, Söhnlein a major German sparkling wine producer, and wineries in Nelson and Auckland. Petter’s affiliation with pioneering winemakers continued when he returned to Christchurch in 1991 to work at St Helena, one of the first wineries in Canterbury and Petter’s first introduction to New Zealand Pinot Noir.
Around this time a group of Canterbury winemakers, including Petter, took over the running of the Pinot Noir workshop. This industry workshop was a knowledge sharing forum for wine growers and producers and was influential in the development of New Zealand Pinot Noir. This led to Petter’s introduction to Dayne Sherwood and in 2003 Petter joined Sherwood Estate.