Marlborough brothers bring shared passion for wine to New World Wine Awards
Ben and Jack Glover share a love of wine, and a judging gig at one of the most prestigious wine shows in the country.
The brothers grew up on a dairy farm in Marlborough, but each went on to forge their own distinct paths in the wine industry after the farm was converted to grapes.
From time to time they sit on the same judging panel at wine shows, as was the case this week when Ben and Jack joined the panel at the New World Wine Awards.
From Monday to Wednesday, the two Glovers sipped and swirled more than 600 glasses of wine between them at the Westpac Stadium, in Wellington.
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It was the largest ever showing at the 15th annual competition: 1397 wines were entered, and for the first time pinot noir entries outnumbered those for sauvignon.
Ben co-owns Glover Family Vineyards along with his brother, a company that takes grapes from the vineyard his father Owen converted from a dairy farm in 1988.
"That's when I worked out that making wine was a lot better than making milk," he says.
As a winemaker, Ben says he finds shows like New World Wine Awards inspiring, albeit mentally exhausting due to the vast quantities of wine he has to taste and discuss.
Being on the same panel as Jack, the general manager for Accolade Wines, is terrible, he jokes. In reality, he feels they bring two different approaches to the table.
"It's really great. I think we offer two very different perspectives on wine. He's nine years younger than me and even that brings quite a difference on how we see the world," he says.
For his part, Jack, who has a background in the on-trade and sales and marketing, says judging with his brother definitely has its advantages when it comes to straight talk.
"The benefit of judging with your brother or someone you know really well, is you're in tune with why they like a wine, or why they don't," Jack says.
"So you cut through a bit of the polite, around-the-table discussion."
The top 50 wines, announced in October, get showcased in New World supermarkets around the country, which Jack describes as an invaluable launch pad for companies big and small.
"A small producer can put in a wine that knocks the socks off everyone over those two, three days and end up with really good promotion under the New World banner," he says.
"It's a really good, fun show with great recognition."
- The Marlborough Express