Chris Pask entered winegrowing in a quite different way. His knowledge is richly empirical. As a topdressing pilot running his own company he knew the nooks and crannies of Hawke’s Bay’s land well, almost as well as the landowners, and used this knowledge to buy 94 acres in Korokipo Road. He first planted grapes there in 1971 and developed a successful business. He sold his last plane in 1989.
In the meantime, he had reoriented his grape-growing business. After a decade of growing on his Korokipo Road site he was well aware of its shortcomings:
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A lot of the land we planted on had to be tile drained – water was very close to the surface, the land was heavy and didn’t grow red wine successfully, and it seemed to me logical that the old riverbed country of the Ngaruroro down at Gimblett Road would do a far better job of ripening red grapes.
In 1980 he began buying land on Gimblett Road and planted his first vines there in 1981. By 1998 he had accumulated over 100 hectares made up of parcels bought from private landowners as well as the Hastings City Council.
After persistent offers from Montana, and Peter Hubscher who knew the land from buying grapes from him, Chris sold the Korokipo block. As he explains:
Peter Hubscher was very, very fair to deal with, gave me a really good solid, honest price and he was very good at letting me stay there for another year to get myself settled here and that was a very good relationship.
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