In 1991, Neil Prentice’s family purchased a farm at Moondarra in the Gippsland Mountain Rivers District in Victoria, Australia. His parents wanted to grow beef cattle… he wanted to grow pinot noir. It’s a good thing he decided to be a rebellious son, else we wouldn’t have his elegant and powerful Moondarra pinots today.
From his end, if he hadn’t rebelled, he wouldn’t have been crowned the WINNER of the 2017 People’s Choice competition. This means that across the five-city Australian tour, out of the 250+ wines that were on tasting, people loved Neil’s pinots the most. He was also ranked third in 2018. Go, Moondarra!
For more on Neil, check out this interview or this profile. You can also keep up with him on Instagram and Facebook, and in person at all the Australian Pinot Palooza events in 2018. He’ll be the one dancing to New Order’s Blue Monday.
What’s the coolest thing about your wines?
Ducks die in their honour.
Tell us about yourself?
Fanatical Saints fan.
Dances to New Order and drives to Neil Young.
I’ve never read Dostoyevsky.
Firmly believe if you don’t grow up by the time you’re 50 then you never have to. Hence an embarrassment to Saint Maree, my wife, and my four kids.
What style do you think characterises the wines of your region?
I think the volcanic soils we grow our grapes in contribute to the robust, tannic style of our wines. Continental climate gives us a backbone of acidity.
Tell us three things we need to know about your region?
- I was born in Gippsland, in the car park of the Warragul hospital.
- Keep a look out for thylacines when driving at night.
- When breeding humans or Wagyu in Gippsland we don’t call it ‘inbreeding’ if you kiss your cousin, it’s ‘line-breeding’.
What’s the one thing we must do in your region?
Kiss your cousin.
If not you, who else should people try?
The MacAlister is one of Australia’s best clarets in the Lakes Region.
Dirty Three make super pinot in the Bass Coast region.
What do you drink when no one is watching?
DuPont Cider and dodgy, home-made gin.
What do you think it is about pinot noir that gets people rocking?
Pheromones in pinot noir skins are an aphrodisiac.
If your pinots were musicians, who would they be?
Studebaker: Joe Strummer cos he pretended to be a punk but was a sellout. (Well, he never sold out actually, but I have).
Moondarra ‘Conception’ : Elvis Presley cos he was so pretty but ended up fat and dead on the crapper.
Moondaraa ‘Samba Side’ : Patti Smith because she wears black T-shirts and she’s tough.
What are you listening to when you’re…
What year was your first pinot noir vintage and what song best represents it?
My first year was 1994. And now one sums it up better than SNOOP DOGG!