Bill Nancarrow a Mainstay on Napa Valley Vintner Scene

Originally from the Hawke’s Bay, Bill Nancarrow, 45, has made sauvignon blanc fit for President Obama and escorted Ryan Seacrest and U2’s The Edge on private winetasting tours. The New Zealand Herald’s Leena Tailor meets Nancarrow, the unofficial New Zealand wine ambassador in the famous Napa Valley.

Studying hotel management in Wellington, Nancarrow enjoyed the wine classes, but swapped blancs for beer in his downtime.

Landing a restaurant job in Cape Town at 23, he accompanied the owner on winetasting trips through Stellenbosch and became so enamoured he enrolled in a local vintner course.

“As they started the technical side about vineyards, grape-growing and winemaking, I suddenly went, ‘This is fascinating. This is what I want to do,’” Nancarrow says.

Wanting to experience an overseas harvest, he arrived in Napa Valley in 2001 expecting to be cleaning out tanks at , but, in a stroke of luck, the assistant winemaker quit, providing an opening for Nancarrow that would lead to a decade of opportunities.

At Duckhorn, famous footballers or musicians like The Edge would make the trek from Los Angeles to stock up their cellars.

“The Edge did a private tour with his wife and they were lovely – very into wine,” he says.

Over the years, Nancarrow’s role became more focused on promoting wine and travelling.

Feeling increasingly disconnected from the winemaking process, he joined Goosecross Cellars earlier this year.

After 13 years in Napa, Nancarrow is a mainstay on the local vintner scene.

He lives in the town of St Helena.

Original article by Leena Tailor, The New Zealand Herald, August 30, 2014.


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