Alex Craighead runs Don Wines with his partner Josefina Venturino. Don was originally the home of Alex’s more serious and structured wines, whereas his second project Kindeli Wines was his free space where he could experiment and make more juicy and unpretentious wines. But over time, the projects have met, so the only thing that really sets them apart today is the terroir: Don Wines is from the Wairarapa region of Martinborough, whereas Kindeli is from Upper Moutere in Nelson.

Don Wines make refreshing and fun wine from carefully cultivated vineyards, but at the same time there is always more at stake with Alex, who challenges the notion of the “natural” winegrower who simply harvests the grapes and leaves the rest to nature in the cellar. He insists on making wine without cultured yeast, fining, filtration or added sulphur, but is at the same time very sensitive to “wine faults”, meaning that if the wine is headed in the wrong direction, he will intervene.

To that end, he has developed a wide range of unorthodox but very effective techniques with which he can control the fermentations without having to use chemicals or other additives. The result is a range of very easy-drinking, juicy and aromatic wines that are at the same time very pure and precise.

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