Bill & Claudia Small
Bill & Claudia's Wines
- New Zealand
- 5 wines
- 3 styles
Fun-loving NZ husband & wife team who let nothing compromise their wines
Bill (the winemaker) and Claudia (the viticulturist) embody the down-to-earth family spirit that has driven Naked from the word go. After travelling and making wines around the world for others, getting Naked meant the intrepid couple could finally make their own wine.
They love nothing more than creating the wines they want to make — without the compromise of working for a big corporation or the struggle of being too small. And that includes introducing Angels to the joys of Marlborough wine. Truthful and fun feedback from Angels is a huge thrill for the pair and allows them to tailor each vintage and explore new gems along the way.
The Small's passionate work ethic combined with Angel backing allowed the pair to become their own bosses. Strong relationships with growers of the best local fruit ensures consistently excellent drops, and in 2018 they realised their dream to buy their own vineyard.
Bill & Claudia Small's Story
The Smalls consider themselves “pretty lucky.” When they met, as classmates studying viticulture and enology at the University of Adelaide, they didn’t imagine their future would include a family and successful wine brand with them as co-winemakers at the helm.
“Three decades on, we’re married and have three awesome kids. We’re still in the wine game and are loving making our Small and Small wines for angels here in Marlborough, New Zealand. Up until the 80’s, Marlborough was a sleepy farming community. In many ways it still is — even though the world has fallen in love with its vibrant Sauvignon Blanc.”
A Dynamic Duo
Side by side they’ve witnessed the Marlborough region transform. Right before their eyes, what was a sleepy farming community became the largest planting of Sauvignon Blanc on the planet. With the growth came a pioneering mindset — the whole winemaking community was discovering world-class grape growing spots and experimenting with new winemaking techniques. Before joining the Naked portfolio, Bill and Claudia held day jobs as winemaker and viticulturist, respectively, for a large winery. The positions gave them exposure to all the groundbreaking winemaking innovations and insight into the temporary oversupply of fruit brought on by the global financial crisis and the region’s rapid growth.
When Bill and Claudia heard of Naked Wines in 2010, they recognized how beneficial the business model would be to winemakers and wine drinkers.
“The idea of using the monthly contributions of angels to match the timelines and cash flow requirements of grape growing and winemaking seemed clever. Creating a community of wine drinkers and producers sounded like it could encourage open dialogue, greater understanding and happier customers. Both have proven to be true.”
Continuing the pioneering they were so fond of, the Smalls became some of the first winemakers to join the Naked model. When asked what they wanted to produce, they knew immediately that they’d be able to get their hands on some “lovely fruit looking for a home.”
“With Naked’s support we signed up those grapes, forming relationships with some of Marlborough’s best independent growers. Those relationships have endured to this day and to continue to work with such fruit still feels like a privilege that few winemakers enjoy.”
Continuing the Project
If you ask them, the Smalls will tell you the satisfaction that comes with owning their own label has never worn off, and they are grateful for the Angel support that makes every vintage possible. It’s Angels like you that make it possible for the Smalls’ to produce wines that have won awards and accolades around the globe. But, being true to what drew them to Naked Wines in the first place, they say accumulating awards can’t beat hearing the genuine experiences of individual Angels who’ve enjoyed drinking Small and Small. The joy is always in the small things.
“The only things we really need is a coffee at the start of the day, a beer at the end, and plenty of jokes in between things. It's a good life!”