Jeremy Stockman’s wine selling career has spanned three decades in three continents and has always included New Zealand Pinot Noir.
It began in the 1980s at Winerack in London. Cook’s wine was the predominant NZ label in that market place at that time.
A move to Australia in the early 1990s resulted in the marketing manager’s position at the brand new Vintage Cellars, a radical change in fine wine retailing for the Liquorland group at the time.
It suited Stockman’s story-telling style well, and relied on clever use of a database with a close connection to the buyer, manifested in ‘The Cellar Press’. This newsletter style of communication has become commonplace and has now moved online, but back then the whole concept was something new and different. There was both a reward for and record of every purchase, so the information gathered was beyond anything seen at that time.
This style of retailing allowed Jeremy to take a few NZ Pinot offerings and turn it into a category in its own right. In 1999 he travelled to Marlborough and Martinborough with a young writer for The Cellar Press, Monty James. Along the way they found more labels for their stable, and could go directly to customers drinking Pinot from other parts of the world with their offerings.
In 2010 Jeremy moved to Hong Kong to take up a position managing French Wine with Watson’s Wine Cellar, but within a year he was managing all wine, including another portfolio of New Zealand Pinot Noir.
Few others would have the insight into the evolution of New Zealand Pinot in these different market places, and Jeremy has picked up much learning along the way.
He’s seen regionality become more important, and is excited by the emerging regions and their diversity of style.
He wonders if land and not producers (or ‘cult winemakers’) might be more considered in any future grading system; will we have ‘Grand Cru’ sites for New Zealand Pinot Noir?
Organic and sustainable production should just be accepted as the best way to make the best wine, and he thinks his customers assume that is what they’ll get from a country considered to be clean, green and unpolluted.
He thinks NZ Pinot Noir represents ‘bloody good value’, even at the top end.
This year, as he approaches his 50th, he finds himself in the best shape of his life. So the obvious thing to do is to drink more Pinot. But this time he’ll be doing it on the go, by participating in the Oxfam Trialwalker, including some of the most incredible trials in Hong Kong. Each summit will be celebrated with a bottle of pinot and there will be recovery lunches where more Pinot will be enjoyed.
For someone who has spent their life with our wines, the path ahead is on the rise