Matua is pleased to announce that Greg Rowdon has been appointed to the role of Chief Winemaker, commencing on 8 January 2016, signifying the next stage in an 18 year relationship with Matua that has led him from Cellar Hand to Masters student and all the way to the top.
Richard Gardner, Director of Wine Production at Matua, said that it’s an honour to appoint someone into the lead role who has had such a long standing relationship with Matua: “Greg understands our values, our culture and our wines intimately – and he will continue to nurture the Matua style and our unrelenting focus on quality that has helped us become one of New Zealand’s most internationally acclaimed wineries,” he said.
“It’s been a delight to see Greg blossom through the ranks at Matua right up to Chief Winemaker. He’s an incredibly talented, hard-working winemaker with an enormous passion for the New Zealand wine industry, and I look forward to Matua wines rising even further under his leadership.”
Greg’s appointment to Chief Winemaker follows Nikolai St George’s decision to pursue new challenges and finish up at Matua in early January 2016.
“It’s a decision that has left me torn, but after seven years as Chief Winemaker for Matua and a new vintage almost upon us, I’ve decided that it’s time for me to move on and try something new. I’m thrilled to be handing over to someone within my team – Greg is an incredibly talented winemaker; there are definitely exciting times ahead for Matua,” said Nikolai.
Richard Gardner thanked Nikolai for his valued contribution to Matua, in particular his focus on improving the quality and diversity within the Matua portfolio: “Nikolai’s passion to produce fantastic wine is infectious. The success of the Matua winemaking team under Nikolai’s leadership has been widely celebrated,” he said.
“Highlights include Matua being awarded Winemaker of Show/Year three years consecutively at New Zealand’s most prestigious wine shows – the 2013 and 2015 New Zealand Royal Easter Show Wine Awards in addition to the 2014 New Zealand International Wine Show.
“Working closely with our Chief Viticulturist Richard Shenfield, Nikolai was also a major driver behind the introduction of Matua’s flagship Single Vineyard Series which has raised the bar in terms of quality and efficiencies from the vineyard through to the winery. These wines have enjoyed much success, including the 2013 Matua Single Vineyard Matheson Syrah taking home six major trophies in New Zealand.”
According to Greg, Nikolai has handed him an incredible baton: “Nikolai’s legacy will live on at Matua, he’s implemented so much in the winery to ensure that Matua wines only keep getting better. I’m excited to be able to continue the great journey and to do my best to take it to the next level with the winemaking team,” he said.
Greg first caught the eye of Matua when in 1997, during his final year of high school, he wrote to the winery asking for advice on how to become a winemaker. He was invited to visit the winery, where he met the then Chief Winemaker Mark Robertson who offered some advice, including recommending that Greg study science at the University of Auckland – which he did, and landed himself a postgraduate scholarship upon completion.
With six months to go before commencing his Masters in Science (majoring in Winemaking), Greg was then offered a role working in the Matua cellar in 2002. He went on to complete his Masters graduating with honours, writing a thesis with research conducted in conjunction with Matua, at which point Matua offered him a hybrid Cellar Hand/Assistant Winemaker role. From there Greg progressed through the ranks of Assistant Winemaker and Auckland Site Winemaker before relocating to Blenheim in 2013 to become the Marlborough Senior Winemaker.
Greg’s new position will see him continue to oversee winemaking operations at the Matua Marlborough winery, on top of the additional responsibilities of being Chief Winemaker.