Untitled Wines has one of the most unique wine concepts in the country! Untitled are exactly that, untitled! Each wine has its own unique code which you enter into Untitled’s website to find out where it came from, and what it’s made of. They don’t own any vineyards, they source very small batches of grapes from various growers. Often buying grapes from Pleasant Valley customers where Untitled owner and winemaker Lee works (New Zealand’s oldest family owned winery – it’s been in the family since 1896 and has been making wine since 1902).
Lee was encouraged by his boss at Pleasant Valley to start his own label, “I wanted to do something different and I didn’t want the style or quality of the wine to be limited by vineyard, variety, or vintage. There’s a strong focus in NZ on single vineyard wines, and there’s nothing wrong with that, I just wanted to do something different”
Lee tells us about his journey to the world of wine. “My Grandparents in England always drank wine at meal times so from a young age there I had a strong connection between wine, food and family. I always liked the ritual that went along with it too (popping the cork, letting it breathe, getting the red to room temperature, tasting it, serving the ladies first, discussing its merits). During my undergraduate degree, which was in Sport and Exercise Science, I became really interested in the role red wine can play as part of a healthy diet. So, I started consuming wine more regularly rather than just on special occasions. I had a couple of serendipitous meetings with Australian winemakers that were doing vintages in Europe. I loved the idea of working in a non-English speaking country and experiencing different cultures. So, I enrolled in a post-graduate Oenology degree at Curtin University in Margaret River. And, went on to work in France and twice in Italy. This really opened my eyes to the vast world of wine and its endless possibilities for learning. I went on to complete the WSET Diploma and started a Master of Wine programme. I love that even though, in its purest form, there is only one base ingredient in wine, grapes, the possibilities for flavour, texture, style, and expression is endless. And we’ve only just scratched the surface, particularly in New Zealand. The biggest challenge is you only get one shot a year—this is where the beer guys have a big advantage over us”