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Head Chef Profile
Matt Stafford - Chief Winemaker
Since graduating from Lincoln University with a BSC majoring in Soil Science and a post-graduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology, Matt Stafford has travelled extensively throughout the world, working with grapes from a variety of wine regions including France, California, Australia and New Zealand.
When Matt joined the Craggy Range Winemaking team as Associate Winemaker in 2006, the company’s ambition of being an equal in the fine wine world and creating an enduring family legacy spoke to his own desire to craft fine wines that speak of their sense of place. This role allowed him to work closely with grapes sourced from the Gimblett Gravels Vineyard, spending time understanding the terroir of this great estate, now a defined appellation likened to that of the Bordeaux region in France.
In 2007, Matt was named the inaugural recipient of Air New Zealand’s Inspiring New Zealanders Wine Award providing the opportunity to gain experience in the great wine regions of France spending time with respected Winemakers including Dominique Lafon in Burgundy and Philippe Guigal and Jean-Louis Chave in the Rhone Valley. Matt returned to France in 2008 and spent the vintage with Jean-Luc Thunevin at his famed Chateau Valandraud in St Emilion.
Matt’s commitment and experience has seen him progress at Craggy Range, assuming the role of Winemaker in 2010 with broader responsibility for the wines produced from the Martinborough and Marlborough estates. He was promoted to the role of Chief Winemaker in 2012, taking the lead of the Winemaking team and responsibility for the entire Craggy Range wine portfolio. “I am very fortunate to lead an extraordinary group of people who want to be part of creating something truly magnificent that successive generations can admire and enjoy for years to come.”
Matt’s interest in winemaking stemmed from an affinity with the land and a desire to better understand its power and capabilities. “I love our great estates and feel a strong connection to their complexities and subtleties. Our craft is one in which the learning experiences are endless yet we can convey what we have learnt each year in a bottle of wine and share this wine with people the world over.” A scientific mind, with strong attention to detail and an ability to listen to the wines are the hallmarks of Matt’s style. This approach allows the wines to develop a certain reserve, depth and maturity with many achieving international acclaim.
Matt lives in Hawke’s Bay with his wife Hannah and sons Oliver and Benjamin. Matt enjoys following and playing all sports whilst he can still outplay his children.
To contact Matt write to