Quartz Reef winemaker and two-time recipient of New Zealand Winemaker of the Year, Rudi Bauer, says that achieving biodynamic certification is a very special milestone that reflects outstanding commitment from the Quartz Reef team.
“Our conversion to biodynamic viticulture is really just the beginning of a wonderful journey to further understand our beautiful vineyard being reflected in the most sincere way. We see biodynamics as the philosophy that will allow this to happen more and more.”
The concept of biodynamics was introduced to the world in 1924 by Austrian philosopher and educator, Rudolf Steiner. The development of industrial farming techniques had resulted in declining land fertility and livestock health. To revive farm fertility Steiner advocated use of biodynamic preparations and composting to increase microbial life, structure and nutrient availability in the soil.
Austrian-born Rudi Bauer is the winemaker at Quartz Reef winery in Central Otago. Born in Salzburg, Rudi gained his degree in viticulture and winemaking in Austria and Germany before coming to New Zealand in 1985 on a 6 month working visa. Here he fell in love with the country, the wine and a “Kiwi girl” (not necessarily in that order of significance) and the net result has been the New Zealand wine industry’s gain!
He worked at Mission Vineyard in Hawkes Bay until 1989, doing vintages in his off-seasons in California and Oregon. The Oregon experience gave Rudi a taste for Pinot Noir, and he moved to Central Otago to make the region’s first gold and trophy pinot noir at Rippon Vineyard in 1991. He moved on to Canterbury, producing consistent medal-winners at Giesen for five years, before returning to Central Otago. It was here in 1996 at Bendigo that Rudi created Quartz Reef; specialising in Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Méthode Traditionnelle. In particular he enjoys and explores the Pinot Noir’s many dimensions, and the convergence of the old and the new.
Widely considered as a far-sighted pioneer of the Central Otago wine region and one of the most charismatic producers in the country, Rudi was awarded Winemaker of the Year in 1999 and again in 2010. He was also honoured to be the first New Zealand winemaker nominated for the prestigious “Der Feinschmecker Winemaker of the Year” in 2010.
Rudi’s infectious enthusiasm for his craft, coupled with his wickedly dry Austrian/Kiwi sense of humour, guarantee that his Masterclass tastings are as entertaining as they are informative.
Rudi was born in Salzburg, Austria. Gaining degrees in viticulture and winemaking in Gumpoldskirchen (1975-79) and Krems (1980-82) and followed by winemaking business college in Bad Kreuznach (1983-84) Germany.
1985-1987 Assistant WM - Mission Vineyard, Hawkes Bay, Vintage at Simi winery, Sonoma, California, Vintage at Sokol-Blosser winery, Oregon
1988 Vintage at Simi winery, as small lot winemaker
1989-1992 Viticulturist/winemaker at Rippon Vineyard, Wanaka
1992 Vintage at Meo Camuzet, Vosne-Romanee, Burgundy
1993-1997 Winemaker at Giesen Wine Estate, Canterbury
1996 Formed Quartz Reef
1999 Champion Winemaker of the Year Royal Society of NZ
2000 Founder of the first Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration
2002-2014 Founding Director of Central Otago Pinot Noir Limited
2010 Der Feinschmecker Wine Awards “Winemaker of the Year” Nominee (one of six in world and first ever in New Zealand).
2010 Champion Winemaker of the Year Royal Society of NZ
2009-14 Chairman - Central Otago Pinot Noir Limited
2016 COPNL Representative for Riedel glassware collaboration to create the Central Otago Pinot Noir glass.
2019 Gourmet Traveller Wine New Zealand "Leadership Award"
The principal Bendigo Estate Vineyard site is a 15 hectare north facing slope comprising arid clay, fine gravel and quartz soils. Planted with a density of between 3,500-5,000 vines per hectare.
Adjacent to this is our modestly north sloping 15 hectare Loop Rd vineyard comprising Waenga (fine sandy loam) and Molyneux (shallow sandy loam) soils. The vineyard serves to supply Quartz Reef with Pinot Noir (clone 10/5, 5, 115, 667 & 777) and Chardonnay (clone B95 & 15) for Méthode Traditionnelle sparkling wine production.
Pinot Gris is also grown here (clone GM 2-15, Sel Ovaille) for our still wine. This varietal is planted with a density of 3,800 vines per hectare.
Quartz Reef has achieved Demeter Certification for Biodynamic Farming for wine grape production. The Central Otago vineyard is one of only six vineyards in New Zealand to have achieved full certification to date.
The achievement recognises Quartz Reef’s dedication to the precise requirements of biodynamic practice and is the culmination of a four year certification process involving onsite inspections and audits of vineyard management and practices.
A natural extension of organics, biodynamic growers take a wider holistic approach which demands rigorous attention to farming methods that are in harmony and balance with nature. The focus on understanding and managing the vineyard as a whole living eco-system gives rise to wines with a distinctive sense of terroir.
Our intention from the beginning has been an unwavering dedication to quality throughout the wine’s journey and maximizing the expression of our wines by practicing organic and biodynamic viticulture in this pristine yet rugged terroir of Central Otago.