"I knew I wanted to be a winemaker from a very early age, about 16. I was already collecting and stashing cases of wine under my bed, hiding this then illegal interest from my parents.
My pocket money was spent on mostly Bordeaux, Burgundy and New Zealand and Australian wines which I’d learn about in reading Robert Parker’s treatises on Bordeaux and the like. I tried out other sciences but decided on biochemistry specialising in yeast, which I thought would set me up the best for being a winemaker.
I went door-knocking in Marlborough in 1992 and found a job running a bottling line. I learnt on the job very quickly from there. After a few years I set up Kiwi-Oeno, my wine consultancy business, which I still run to this day to the point that since 1993 I've completed two harvests in both hemispheres every single year.
This backdrop provides the inspiration for our Blank Canvas project - it's the global experience, many many vintages and the pure love of wine that gives us the framework for our wines."
SOPHIE PARKER-THOMSON MW
"My background is the absolute mirror image of Matt's. Where he grew up in a family of lawyers and went into wine, I grew up in a family where wine and hospitality ruled supreme but dived down the rabbit warren of the legal profession. However, Matt suggested I come to Marlborough for a harvest in 2011. As you have probably worked out how the story goes, I never left.
Since then I've lived in a sponge-like state, through both Northern and Southern Hemisphere vintages and all the wine education I could get my hands on. In February 2021 I was announced as the South Island's first ever Master of Wine, joining 14 other New Zealand-based MWs.
Blank Canvas is the embodiment of our love for wine and the spectacular vineyard sites in New Zealand we wish to portray."