It is what many dream of: you are an experienced executive at the top of your game, you have seen it all. Then you leave it all behind to buy a vineyard. And no, not in a famous region, but an emerging region on the other side of the world.
That is the story of Nigel Greening, British-born owner of Felton Road in Central Otago, New Zealand, who just celebrated his 25th vintage. But as anyone who has met Greening will know, marking this milestone is not a self-congratulatory rest on well-earned laurels but an opportunity to reflect on this ever-evolving project, as pioneering now as it was on its first day.
Artisan and authentic
‘I did not want to die of a heart attack on a 747 when I was 65. I wasn’t going to do the job I did,’ Greening says about his life in the mid-1990s. He was in his mid-40s then.
‘I was a creative director mainly doing very large corporate events, big expo pavilions; very stressful, high adrenaline, high-energy stuff. That was not a long-term thing.’ Yet Greening’s story differs significantly from the usual trope of a tech or banking tycoon buying a vanity vineyard.