NZ winemaker killed in freak kite-surfing accident

new zealand News Wine News
  • Monday 18 October 2004

New Zealand winemaker Douglas Wisor has been killed in a freak kite-surfing accident.

American-born Wisor - who worked at Craggy Range winery - was pulled from the sea by a gust of wind, dragged through trees and into the side of a caravan. He died from multiple head and chest wounds.

It is thought he was unable to release his harness in time as the powerful gust lifted his kite from the ocean at Te Awanga, a small settlement on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, near Hastings in Hawke’s Bay

Wisor had moved from New York in 2000 to work at the Craggy Range winery in Hawke’s Bay.

Craggy Range won a series of awards at the recent Decanter World Wine Awards, notably two Silvers, two Bronzes and three Commendeds.

Writing on the Craggy Range website, managing director Steve Smith said, ‘[Doug] came to Craggy to make great Pinot Noir, and for me he was the perfect winemaking partner. Not only did he bring a love of Pinot Noir to Craggy, he brought an in-depth knowledge of oenology and practical winemaking that I did not have.

‘During his time with us Doug made some of the greatest wines this country has seen. He single-handedly created a Syrah style that has made the world notice something spectacular happening in the vineyards of New Zealand.’

Kite-surfers are pulled along on the water attached to a large kite. They reach speeds of up to 40km/h and perform daring 4-metre jumps.

The relatively new sport is recognised as high-risk - last year a man was seriously injured in a similar accident on South Island.

‘The world is a poorer place without him. He was an unbelievable young man,’ Smith said.

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