Tokyo-born Hiroyuki (known as Hiro) Kusuda trained as a lawyer and worked for Fujitsu, then the Consulate General of Japan in Sydney before throwing it all up to pursue his other love, wine and winemaking. He went to Germany, learned the language, enrolled at Geisenheim and then emigrated to New Zealand to pursue both the Riesling and Pinot grapes – to which a third challenge, Syrah, has now been added. The choice of New Zealand in general and Martinborough in particular apparently came about through tasting the 1992 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir.
Obviously the main market for Kusuda is Japan, where they have developed a cult following, and indeed whence comes the volunteer labour force at harvest time when every grape is rigorously checked before making the cut. Hiro Kusuda is meticulous to an almost fanatical degree, but it explains the exceptional quality and amazing precision of his wines. The Kusuda Pinot Noir was one of the standout wines at the 2013 Pinot Noir Celebration in Wellington, NZ.