Massey Dacta | From Dairy Farmers to Winemakers
Wendy and Owen Glover, fourth-generation farmers, were among the first to plant grapes on their farm in Marlborough’s Dillon’s Point in New Zealand in 1988.
Wendy and Owen Glover, fourth-generation farmers, were among the first to plant grapes on their farm in Marlborough’s Dillon’s Point in New Zealand in 1988. Organically farmed, Massey Dacta wines are a true expression of authentic rural farming that chooses family over corporations. The Glover family are advocates for sustainability and mindful consumption.
When Owen Glover took over the dairy farm in his very early twenties, he always made sure that the family was running a sustainable operation while maximizing the potential of the land. After 30 years, he saw an opportunity to switch from dairy farmer to grape grower. He had a feeling that his land had the potential to produce world–class wine. He made the shift by selling the dairy herd and planting grapes in 1985.
Today, Ben Glover, his oldest son, runs the family winemaking operation, Glover Family Vineyards, along with his wife Susie and their children. His two youngest siblings, Lucy, with her husband Francis, and Jack along with his partner Georgie, are also part of the venture. Ben completed a post graduate diploma in viticulture and winemaking and has over 25 years of experience as a national and international wine judge. He is dedicated to quality wine, both as a winemaker and a wine drinker. His winemaking philosophy? “Listen to your environment, understand your surroundings. You are there to make a sensual medium so that your customer can see the vineyard through a lens.”
The farm is 65 ha in size, of which 50 are being dedicated to grapes such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Pinot Noir. Choosing these grapes was influenced by a well-known and powerful Māori concept, Turangawaewae. “It’s all about listening and understanding where you stand, your sense of place. (…) For us, these varieties are ones we feel are a pure expression of where we stand on this land.” says Ben.
When asked if the family has any regrets in going from dairy farming to winemaking, Ben quickly answers: “Why would we? We all know wine is much better for you than milk, and the Marlborough region is the premier New World Wine region globally.”
INTERVIEW WITH BEN GLOVER
How did you end up in Winemaking?
I had no idea what I wanted to do so I went to university and realised that I was too dumb for law, accountancy or medicine. I also realised that being outdoors or at least that connection was very important to me. I finished up with a Marketing degree and then did a Viti and wine Post grad with the thought of returning home to the farm and kicking dad off the farm… He is still there! And…I realised that I liked living in the grey space – the place between black and white – and winemaking and working with the elements such as climate and agriculture was just that. The winemaking side of it is like working with a palate and providing the imbiber with the purest form of what the land – the farm expresses.
Why is Chardonnay your favourite?
I have worked with this same fruit for 24 years, so I am a bit taken with this variety – also I believe along with Riesling it is part of the Great Whites (They are Shark Wines)
What is your inspiration in winemaking?
I’m not a big fan of this question sorry… However, there is the individual inspiration, there are things or people you look to. At the end, you apply experience and maturity to what you are doing and the inspiration comes from within and from your daily surroundings: Your partner, children, parents, siblings, peers, mates, the environs etc.
Which wine are you most proud of?
To choose one would be like choosing one of your children.
Ferguson tractor: Can you please share with members a childhood memory around the tractor?
I have fond memories of feeding out, shifting irrigation, moving electric fences, following dad in my gumboots and trying to step into his large footprints – never could. It was a special way to grow up. The Massey Fergusan tractor or Massey Dacta personifies growing up in rural New Zealand. I loved that tractor, but could never say it correctly as a 2-3yr old. I was driving tractors and trucks, motorbikes by the time I was 5, and helping along with my brothers and sister on the farm. We had no idea that it was “farm work’! It was fun, it was outdoors, and we could be dirty!
Do your children spire to follow in your footsteps? How are they involved in the vineyard?
The family farm is family – it is an intrinsic undertaking and understanding, we work around our children and they work around us, sometimes we work together – There is no pressure on them to continue in the family business. Any one of them want to want it. And at the moment being 16-11yrs old – they are way too young – they need to just enjoy being Kids!