Growing up on the Marlborough Sounds, a remote area of New Zealand’s South Island, Kim Longbottom enjoyed a classic rural upbringing, complete with home-schooling as a child. Although her family were sheep and cattle farmers, New Zealand’s famous Marlborough wine region was nearby and Kim’s passion for discovering wine began early in life. The constant learning and the excitement of having a new and different vintage every year captured her imagination from the start.
Kim migrated to Australia in 1987 to work for an Arabian horse farm in Sydney. Kim met Mark Longbottom while on holiday with friends in Kingston, near Robe on South Australia’s Southeast coast. Kim was delighted to escape the city rat race and move out to the country to start a life with Mark in Padthaway; in many ways it felt like going home. Padthaway born and bred Mark was a third generation pastoralist and, like Kim, had a natural affinity with the land. Mark and his family had converted some of their cropping and grazing farmland over to grapes in 1991, so it was a natural progression for Mark and Kim into the world of wine as they carefully selected further sections of their properties for vine planting.
Two dreams were realised in 1998 when their daughter Margo was born, and Mark and Kim made their first Henry’s Drive release wines with two varietal wines, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, the brand started with just 1500 cases.
Tragically, Mark passed away in 2008. A loyal and honest man with a wry sense of humour and a devotion to the life they had built, Kim and Margo’s loss is still felt far outside his beloved Padthaway. Today, the Henry’s Drive brand has grown to produce 100,000 cases with 10 different labels and the passion for viticulture and winemaking that Kim and Mark shared is still central to the business today. This rapid growth was something of a learning curve for them both, and Kim continues to build the business in honour of Mark’s memory.
Kim now divides her time between the Padthaway Cellar Door and vineyards, her Adelaide home and works out of the company’s Kent Town office, where she oversees the day-to-day running of the business.The different varieties and styles of wine she discovers around Australia and the world continue to fascinate Kim, and the people she meets on her travels to different markets inspire her to continue building the Henry’s Drive name.