Kim grew up on a farm in the Waikato region of New Zealand's North Island. He graduated with a B.Sc. in 1983 and, like many a new graduate, found himself wondering how to make use of his education in carving-out an interesting career. It was at this point that one of Kim's lecturers came up with the inspired suggestion that he take a look at New Zealand's infant wine industry. The rest, as they say, is history.
"It was a revolutionary time for New Zealand winemaking. New varieties - Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay - were being planted. The potential was certainly there to be able to make something other than sherry, even though few would have guessed at the full extent of the progress our industry has since made," recalls Kim.
Kim's objective was always unwaveringly simple and straightforward - to produce and present under one label the very best wines from every grape variety and every premium wine-growing region in New Zealand. Whilst Kim has since departed, his winemaking philosophy very much lives on at Kim Crawford Wines today.
"The modern wine industry's emphasis on technology has undoubtedly brought great benefits. However, winemaking is just as much an art as a science and a wine can certainly benefit if the winemaker's personality is present and discernable in the final product. There really is no reason why "New World" wines should suffer from uniformity. We are lucky to be able to draw from the old and invent new stuff, we have no history therefore no rules to break and no one to offend."
The Kim Crawford label is now well recognised in some of the world's most sophisticated markets.
The prospect of a new baby changes many things. For Erica Crawford, it meant giving up plans to market German pharmaceuticals and the start of her career marketing New Zealand wines.
"We were planning on Kim becoming a house-husband and doing some consulting winemaking for a few years. But that scenario went suddenly out of the window. Instead, we opted to create our own label, a project we could work on together whilst also bringing-up Pia and her big brother Rory."
And so Kim Crawford Wines was born. Whilst Kim ensured that all the wine in the label's bottles was of the highest quality, Erica administered the company, explored new markets and developed its unique brand identity.
With an extensive marketing background, Erica was well equipped to analyse gaps in the New Zealand wine scene. She was used to sampling Kim's wines and her own palate told her that Kim's clean, uncluttered approach would appeal to the taste buds of wine aficionados across the globe."
A key element in the success is that Kim Crawford Wines are part of the art and fashion scenes, which certainly helps keep the brand individual. This is reflected in projects and sponsorships such as New Zealand's fashion brands Huffer and Kathryn Wilson.