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Press Releases

Like the Leaves on a Vine – The Saint Clair Family Grows

11 November 2008 New Appointments At Saint Clair Family Estate

Due to substantial success and growth, Saint Clair Family Estate has welcomed seven new appointments into the Marlborough based winery.

Brie Hughes, a qualified Winemaker with extensive experience, has joined Saint Clair as a White Winemaker. Brie grew up on a vineyard north of Melbourne, attended university in Brazil, studied a Bachelor of Environmental Science in Canberra, and Agricultural Science (Oenology) in Adelaide. She has had a nomadic lifestyle through vineyards and backpacking, before discovering Saint Clair and what she describes as “beautiful Marlborough”.

Heather Stewart started with Saint Clair Family Estate during the 2008 vintage. With a MSc in Applied Psychology (undergraduate degree at Auckland University, and postgraduate at Canterbury University), Heather is enjoying her the new role as Lab Assistant.

Displaying the commitment Saint Clair has to train and develop its team, Natalie Christensen and Stewart Maclennan have both been promoted from Cellarhands to Assistant Winemakers:

Stewart Maclennan has worked harvests for Saint Clair since 2003, became head Cellarhand in 2006, and is now Assistant Winemaker. In between breaks at Saint Clair, Stewart worked two harvests in Australia, travelled at length around Mexico, Thailand, England and Australia and focused on his music career. Stewart plays the guitar, and studied at the Nelson School of Music after College. Stewart compares the music to wine industry, saying with both he was surrounded by people with passion and drive to creatively pursue the ongoing improvement of the thing they love.

Natalie Christensen, who when she started at Saint Clair had no idea what “a vintage” was, has had a range of experiences in different roles at Saint Clair, including working in the lab, the cellar, and now as Assistant Winemaker. Natalie has also worked a vintage in Bordeaux. Natalie has a Bachelor of Music, BA in Psychology and Masters of Science (first class honours), and along with Heather, is going to start the Graduate Diploma in Oenology next year.

Maria Easton, has joined Saint Clair from Houston Mitisubishi Motors, as the HR Officer, in the administration team - a new role created due to the company’s growth.

Other changes to the team include Andrew Lasenby, with experience at Montana, Marlborough Valley Cellars, and Kim Crawford Wines, who was appointed in August as a Senior Cellarhand. Kathrin Jankowiec has been promoted from Vintage Cellarhand to permanent Cellarhand.

These people join the family and the experienced team already at Saint Clair Family Estate, including Matt Thomson, who recently won the White Winemaker of the Year at the 2008 International Wine Challenge in London in September.

Managing Director, Neal Ibbotson, is delighted to have so many fantastic people join the extended family of Saint Clair.

“It is great to have a team that is not only growing, but developing. And now we have a combination of experience and skills, that will create wine we are all proud to put our name behind. The new members of the team have been very appreciative of the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s best winemakers, including Matt Thomson, who has recently received a global accolade putting him right at the top (White Winemaker of the Year at the 2008 International Wine Challenge),” says Ibbotson.

A new team is not the only development at this family owned and operated winery. Saint Clair was recently honoured at the International Aromatic Wine Competition 2008 Royal NZ Show, winning the following major awards:
- Champion Riesling Trophy - Saint Clair Pioneer Block 9 Big John Riesling
- Gold Medals - Saint Clair Pioneer Block 18 Snap Block Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Labelled the rising star of Marlborough (by Wine & Spirits, Winter 2008), the new appointments and awards reinforce the already successful winery, which is continuing to produce some of the best wine in the world.

Prepared on behalf of Saint Clair Family Estate by the pr shop. For further information please contact Neal Ibbotson on (03) 57 88695 or Pippa Lekner on (09) 368 1078 or email Neal