Along with doing a wine tasting and winemaker meet and greet Ruby Red has put up this profile of CP.
Blind winemaker C.P. Lin won his job at New Zealand vineyard Mountford Estate one afternoon in December 1997. Out for lunch with friends, he announced he could smell “a Monte Christo No. 5 Cuban cigar” the very cigar Michael Eaton, Mountford’s proprietor, was smoking. Michael was extremely impressed with CP’s accuracy and discerning nose and asked what he thought of his wine. Straight-talking CP gave him a very unflattering analysis and offered his opinion on how the vineyard and winery could be better managed. Michael, realizing the full extent of CP’s talents, offered him the role of winemaker at Mountford Estate.
Born in Taiwan, CP came to New Zealand at the age of 13. At university, he initially dabbled in mathematics and engineering (which he found extremely boring) before discovering his true calling in the world of wine through his university wine club. He speaks five different languages: English, Mandarin, Spanish, French and German; has degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics and another in wine science; translated the Oxford Companion to Wine into Braille and is also part of a very elite group of people who have sat for the prestigious International Masters of Wine. His determination, intelligence and above all his love of wine and highly tuned senses have led him to the international recognition he deserves as one of the very best makers of New Zealand Pinot Noir.
“Blindness, “ says CP, “neither helps nor hinders being a great winemaker. You don’t need to see a wine to find out whether it’s cloudy or clear.” The biggest challenge, he says, is in persuading others that he can do it. “I have to try to show others that not only can I do things well, but that I can do things better than most.” With Mountford wines consistently receiving enthusiastic approval from critics ever since he became its winemaker, we think he has successfully proved his point.