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Down to earth: Talking Pinot Noir with Sam Neill

A world-famous actor he may be, but Sam Neill is not to be dismissed as just another celebrity winemaker, given his dedication to ‘Lord Pinot’, and the quality of his wines from Central Otago on New Zealand’s South Island.

It’s ironic that when I go to interview actor and wine producer Sam Neill at his Central Otago farm, HQ for his Two Paddocks wines, he isn’t there.

Because as well as being famous for his roles in, among others, The Piano and the Jurassic Park franchise, and TV’s Peaky Blinders, Neill has a reputation as the most hands-on of celebrity winemakers; when he’s not travelling for work, he lives at the farm, where he’s known affectionately as ‘The Proprietor’ or simply ‘The Prop’.

He built a house there, in among the vines, and it’s very much his base, to the extent that when he received a devastating blood cancer diagnosis two years ago, he told the specialist (in Australia) ‘that I wouldn’t come back for a few days, that I hadn’t been to my farm for months and I needed to sleep in my own bed… plant something, be a farmer and a wine producer, even if it was only for a few days. I really needed to do that.’

Scroll down to see notes and scores for eight wines from Sam Neill’s Two Paddocks estate

Central Otago star power: Susy Atkins’ eight wines to try from Two Paddocks

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