Jane Hunter, viticulturist


“Hunter’s support many local community activities because it is important not only to foster relationships but add something back to the community which has given us credibility and support.”


Jane Hunter. Image supplied by author

Jane was born in South Australia, where her father was a contract grape grower for BRL Hardy. She gained a degree in Agricultural Science at the University of Adelaide, working in Australia and New Zealand at various jobs before she was appointed to the position of National Viticulturist for Montana Wines based in Blenheim. At a crucial time for New Zealand’s fledgling wine industry, Jane was responsible for all Montana’s vineyards, setting work programmes for the managers, organising research and development and liaising with contract growers.

Jane met and married Irishman Ernie Hunter in 1984 and, after his untimely death in 1987, she took over running Hunter's Wines which Ernie had established in Marlborough in 1979. It was widely expected that Jane would sell up and move back to Australia, but the resolve that fuelled Jane’s decision to stay and fight for a future for Hunter’s Wines and New Zealand Wines after Ernie’s death has come to light many times since.

Through her strong determination, she resolved to build on the vineyard's proven potential and success.

Jane received an OBE in 1993 for her services to viticulture and in 1997 came further recognition with an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Massey University. In October 2003, Jane received the inaugural Wine & Spirit Competition Women in Wine Award (UK).

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