Before embarking on his winemaking career, Tokyo-born Hiroyuki (known as Hiro) Kusuda trained as a lawyer, worked for Fujitsu and worked at the Consulate General of Japan in Sydney. Hiro sought a winemaking education in English, but was dissuaded by the fees that foreign students were charged at Davis in California and Roseworthy in Austrlia. Instead, he went to Germany, learned the language, enrolled at Geisenheim and then emigrated to New Zealand to work as an assistant to his friend Kai Schubert, who had been a few years ahead of him at Geisenheim. This led him to the tiny town of Martinborough to pursue both the Riesling and Pinot grapes – to which a third challenge, Syrah, has now been added.
Obviously the main market for Kusuda is Japan, where they have developed a cult following, and indeed whence comes the volunteer labour force at harvest time when every grape is rigorously checked before making the cut. Hiro Kusuda is meticulous to an almost fanatical degree, but it explains the exceptional quality and amazing precision of his wines.