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Rod was the first big-name winemaker I brought on to Naked Wines in the UK, back in 2011.
He proved to be one of my best signings - a winemaking genius, commercially astute, and wildly popular with customers.
Rod later told me that this partnership gave him the platform he needed to make his own dream come true.
Which was to buy a piece of land in his native Hawke’s Bay, and build a home and plant a vineyard on it. Laying down roots for his family for generations to come.
Rod and his wife Emma found the perfect site overlooking the Ngaruroro River, in the Mangatahi district of Hawke’s Bay.
It had the elevation, complex soils and free drainage they were looking for to plant a vineyard capable of producing world-class wines.
Not to mention breathtaking views, and the ideal environment to raise their three young boys.
From this base, Rod and Emma are now making stunning wines under their Easthope Family Winegrowers label.
Like lots of people over here, Rod’s an old-world wine nut. He loves his classic French and Italian wines.
He takes the unmistakably intense and aromatic fruit of Hawke’s Bay, and uses classic old-world winemaking techniques, to craft insanely delicious wines.
It’s the best of both worlds.
This is the first time these wines have made it to Europe - Rod and Emma sell most of their wine to top restaurants around New Zealand.
So we’re extra-lucky to get our hands on some!
I’m proud to have played my small part in Rod and Emma’s story.
And even prouder now to bring the wines from this special place to Ireland.