Aurum: A Nod to the Old World

Joan and Tony Lawrence planted their first grapes at 45th Parallel Vineyard on the Pisa Flats just 6 km from Cromwell in 1997. Since then they have also developed Te Wairere Vineyard nearby in 2001 and by 2004 their son Brook and daughter-in-law Lucie had join them to work towards making the first vintage in their newly constructed winery as winemakers in 2006.

Joan’s background is in archaeology and she left her career as an archaeological illustrator at Auckland University to work on the vineyards and ultimately run the cellar door. Tony is an orthodontist and loves to be involved in every aspect of the wine business as well as running his orthodontic practice in Queenstown.

Their son Brook, trained as a winemaker in South Australia and after working in Australia, New Zealand and France came back with his wife Lucie in 2004. Brook met his future wife while they were both trainees at Domaine de l’Arlot in Premeaux Prissey in Burgundy. Lucie is a third generation winemaker and trained as an oenologist at Dijon University, working vintages in Burgundy and Alsace. She is Aurum’s principal winemaker while Brook also looks after the viticultural management of the estate. They have two daughters Mathilde and Madeleine and our reserve wines are named for them.

The word Aurum is the Latin for gold. Literally translated it means “shining dawn”. Aurum’s vineyard is adjacent to old 19th and early 20th century gold workings and one of the first owners of the property in the 1880s was a Chinese gold miner called Ah Que.