10 Sep 2014

Wine pioneer Alex Corban dies

8:08 pm on 10 September 2014

Alex Corban, the man credited with gaining New Zealand an international foothold in the wine industry has died.

The 89-year-old was the third successive generation of his family who was devoted to winemaking.

Mr Corban's love of wine began from an early age while helping extended family on a vineyard in Henderson as a toddler during the 1920s.

He took over the family vineyard in the 1950s and stopped producing the fortified wines that were the industry norm at the time.

He began making dessert wines for the domestic and export markets.

Mr Corban discovered new techniques for making wine, including the use of stainless steel tanks for fermentation and storage, the use of cultured yeasts, and cold-pressure fermentation to enhance flavour.

In 1978, he was made an OBE for his services to the wine industry.