Exploring pristine beaches and forests, trying exhilarating adventure sports and spotting exotic wildlife in New Zealand is a vacation most of us only dream of, but one long-time local has found a way to bring a taste of the far-off country into Orange County’s premium eateries and lounges.
Adam Cooper, a long-time Newport Beach resident whose family originally hails from New Zealand, has recently started importing The Landing Wines to Southern California, finding a home for them at local drinking and eating hotspots like The Quiet Woman (CDM), Las Brisas (Laguna Beach), The Country Club (Costa Mesa) and 71 Above (DTLA).
The wines are made at his family’s beautiful 1000-acre estate in the Bay of Islands, which as well as being a sustainable winery with a vineyard where kiwi birds roam between the vines in the evenings, offers luxury accommodation in four stunning guest Residences that have played host to celebrities such as Mick Jagger and former US President Barack Obama.
Adam is passionate about sharing the fruits of his homeland here, and is on a mission to introduce the brand’s wines - which include Chardonnay, Syrah, Pinot Gris, Rose, and a Vino Rosso – to discerning drinkers.
“I think Southern Californians will enjoy our wines because our grapes share similar New World wine characteristics,” says Adam. “One difference is that our winemaker Ben Byrne makes our wines in an Old World style, allowing the fruit to fully express itself rather than overbearing it with oak flavors.”
“One thing I’ve found people appreciate about The Landing Wines is that the texture is silky-smooth with very few tannins, and that makes them very easy drinking.”
The Landing Wines are crafted to evoke the place where they’re made – bright and welcoming, like the beautiful coastal landscape – but containing delightful surprises – like a lively salinity that comes from the morning sea mist that blows across the vineyard.
Wine importing is the newest venture in the Cooper family business, which has spanned the Pacific since Adam’s parents moved to Newport Beach over three decades ago. Alongside his father, Peter Cooper, Adam has worked on property developments that include Southlake Town Square in Dallas, Texas, and a 26 building precinct in downtown Auckland, New Zealand. Cooper and Company also has interests in clean energy and finance, but wine has become Adam’s latest passion.
“People tend to know New Zealand for Sauvignon Blanc, but Chardonnay is arguably New Zealand’s best white wine,” he says. “Northland, where our wine is grown, is the warmest part of the country, so the wine develops full-bodied tropical fruit flavours with a crisp acidity from the cooler maritime nights.”
The Landing Pinot Gris and Rose are also very enjoyable day or night, following the aromatic, sweet, floral style of French wines rather than the lighter, fruitier Italian style that’s dominant in the local market. The Syrah is the robust powerhouse of the brand, perfect with steak or pork, while the Vino Rosso is a little more subtle and pairs perfectly with pasta.
If you’re keen to try The Landing Wines for yourself, you’ll find Adam pouring them at the Roosters Orange County Food and Wine Celebration on August 27th, as well as at the Sip into Summer wine series on August 31st at the Tower23 Hotel in San Diego. Pick up a bottle at Hi-time Wine Cellars, or order direct to your door at www.thelandingwine.com. Enter ‘COAST’ at checkout for 15% off your order.