He’s a gardener, insists Anton Rasmussen. Working with the land to join the dots between raw nature and the people who enjoy the wine at the end.
“Mother Nature wrote the script, we just have to follow it,” says Anton. There is an art to reading that script, of course, and it’s one Anton works hard on with his vineyard team every vintage.
Of Danish and Maori descent, Anton grew up in Marlborough, helping out on vineyards after school. When he completed his schooling, he found a job at Morton Estate, where he worked on the vineyards in Marlborough while studying viticulture at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke’s Bay.
Then followed stints of a few years each at New Zealand wine industry giants Montana and Villa Maria. Apart from developing his skills in vineyard management, he also had his first experience of developing bare land into vineyards during these years.
When Brent Marris bought the Waihopai River vineyard, Anton was brought on board. The planting of the vineyard in 2004 started under his leadership. As Marisco’s land and vineyard resource has grown over the years, so has Anton’s responsibilities. Supported by a wider team of viticulturists, Anton now heads up all our vineyards in Marlborough.
He has a passion for growing all the varieties Marisco vineyard have planted. But he admits that the variety he loves most, is also the one that challenges him most.
“I love growing Pinot Noir, because you can’t hide behind it. If you don’t do the hard work, you won’t get good quality fruit. Pinot Noir challenges you, you have to be on your game. It’s a bit of a prima donna.”
The other great loves in Anton’s life are his wife and three children. When possible, he combines his love of his family with his love of the outdoors, taking them to the rugby, hunting, or anything outside.