After 20 years of making wines for other people the time came to do my own thing.

In 2013 my wife Fiona and I launched Ant Mackenzie Wines from our small property in Havelock North.  Our property is named CRAFT FARM and it is from there that we run our lives and business.

I continue to make wine for many vineyard and winery clients as a consultant winemaker.

My interest in wine was sparked while at university.  After a couple of years of a science degree and with no real career in mind the wine industry appealed as an industry that looked exciting.  From Hawke’s Bay and with an interest in agriculture, business and marketing the wine industry offered many prospects.  An industry where on any day you might find yourself in overalls on a tractor, or hosting a dinner in New York-the contrasts couldn’t be greater.  Through the early 1990’s I occupied myself getting qualified and some overseas experience.  Moving to Marlborough in 1996 to work at the new Drylands Estate Winery, it was only then that I knew I had made the right career choice.  I have worked with, and been mentored by some great people, and have felt in a very small way part of the bigger success story of New Zealand wine.

Today I busy myself with running a consultancy and a branded wine business.  I get great satisfaction in understanding what people enjoy drinking and working out how to provide them with that experience.  Along the way I help clients with different parts of that journey, and make a focused range of wines under my own brands.  To keep myself abreast of changes within the industry I sit on the odd committee and get involved in wine judging.

Doing something you love is not considered work so the lines are blurred.  Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family, reading and working on our property.

Prior to joining the consultancy ranks I enjoyed a varied career as a winemaker and general manager. I’ve worked with some of the smallest wine companies through to the largest making everything from commercial wine through to some of New Zealand’s best and most expensive wines. My career defining roles have been at the following wineries:

New Zealand

Dry River/ Kidnapper Cliffs/ Te Awa | General Manager/ Chief Winemaker
Mud House Wine Group | Group Chief Winemaker
Spy Valley Wines | Chief Winemaker/ Production Manager
Framingham Wine Company | Winemaker

Overseas

Vintages in Australia and the USA along with study trips to Europe have opened my mind and palate to the wines of the world.

Current clients

Consultancy by nature is a movable feast of clients and roles. My roles encompass the range from general management through to a palate for hire and everything in between.

New Zealand:

Alluviale | general manager and winemaker | www.alluviale.com
Askerne | consultant winemaker | www.askerne.co.nz
Alchemy | consultant winemaker | www.alchemywines.co.nz
Dry River | management and winemaking consultant | www.dryriver.co.nz
Petane Station | consultant winemaker | www.petanestation.co.nz
Te Awa Collection | consultant winemaker | www.teawacollection.co.nz
Villa Maria | consultant winemaker | www.villamaria.co.nz
WineNZ Magazine | tasting panelist | www.winenzmagazine.co.nz

Past and overseas:

International Wine Services | contract winemaker | Calatyud, Somontano, Olite SPAIN. 1997 and 1998.
China Fine Wines | consultant winemaker | Dragons Hollow wines, Ninxia CHINA. 2007-2010.

Key Skills:

  • Organisational management
  • Strategic planning from identifying market opportunities through to branding and marketing of wines
  • Cash forecasting and Budgeting
  • Winery and Vineyard development
  • Picking decisions
  • Stylistic winemaking direction
  • Technical winemaking
  • Brand representation
  • Mentoring