Growing up on some of the very first vineyards in Marlborough, it is hardly surprising that Brent chose a life devoted to winemaking and viticulture.
Inspired and encouraged by his father, John Marris (who in 1973 planted the first vineyards in Marlborough for the erstwhile Montana Wines), Brent went to Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia, becoming Marlborough’s first locally born and raised qualified winemaker.
In 1985, Brent was appointed to the role of Chief Winemaker for Delegats Wine Estate. Here he was responsible for the establishment of the Oyster Bay wine style, travelling the world to launch the brand, which is still one of the most prominent New Zealand brands internationally.
In 1994, he returned to his roots to establish Wither Hills with his father as viticulturist. The brand soon became critically acclaimed and Wither Hills flourished commercially. After the company was sold to Lion Nathan, Brent stayed on to manage the Wither Hills operation until 2007, when he started devoting his full attention to his new venture.
Seeking new challenges, Brent searched the Marlborough region for the ideal vineyard site to establish a new international brand. In 2003, he found his ideal location on the banks of the Waihopai River. Grapes from here were used to launch The Ned brand.
Internationally successful brands
With his third internationally successful brand, Brent has firmly established himself as one of New Zealand’s most respected winemakers. He is known for his outstanding ability to blend varietals in a manner that best represents regional style and character. His wines are renowned for their fruit purity, structure and seamlessness.
His wife, Rosemary, is a partner in our business, and their four daughters are his inspiration.
“Winemaking is all about passion, and my passion and inspiration comes from my family. Both, current and past,” says Brent.