Producer Profile | Foxes Island Wines
As one of Australasia’s most respected winemakers and critics, many of you will recognise John Belsham’s name as for the past 15 years he has been recommending the very best wines to try in Cuisine Magazine.
With a finely tuned palate, he analyses thousands of wines each year, helping to make the job of choosing a tasty drop an absolute breeze.
What you may not know is that when he’s not reviewing wines; consulting internationally or selecting wines for Air New Zealand, he’s creating wines under his own label, Foxes Island Wines. Founded in 1992 to focus on single vineyard, cellar aged wines, Foxes Island specialises in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay whilst also making a ne Dry Riesling and a French styled Sauvignon Blanc; a firm favourites with Farro customers.
French trained, John has been making wine for over 40 years and has been a significant figure in shaping the New Zealand wine industry to what it is today; including leading the screw cap initiative which shifted 95% of the country’s wine from cork to screw caps within 18 months.
John’s love affair with wine began in 1977 when he left for his OE and ended up in Bordeaux on a family-run winery picking grapes. The harvest job set the stage for his future path, as he remained working on the property for the next 5 years; becoming uent in French, indulging in the delights of French cooking and becoming a qualified winemaker.
John returned to NZ in 1982 and ever since has been one of the true champions of NZ winemaking. Arriving in Marlborough in 1987 to work for Hunter’s Wines, there were a total of 4 wineries in the region; he ultimately played a significant role in the region’s winemaking infrastructure development as Sauvignon Blanc took to the world stage.
Thinking about his own winery, John wanted to do what he had learned to do in France; produce single vineyard wines that spoke of place, that were world class and that stretched him intellectually. Chardonnay was the first Foxes Island wine produced in 1992, followed by Pinot Noir in 1993.
Foxes Island is the only winery in New Zealand with a dedicated cellar-aging programme prior to release on its single vineyard and Icon Series wines. The Pinot Noirs are aged approximately 5 to 6 years prior to release. The white wines are aged 2 to 5 years prior to release.
We feel very honoured to have wines of such outstanding character and a winemaker to match on the shelves at Farro!