Yealands Wine Group (Yealands) announced the appointment of Natalie Christensen to the position of Chief Winemaker commencing immediately.
Natalie became part of the fulltime Yealands winemaking team in 2015 after completing two vintages with the company as a Vintage Winemaker in 2014 and 2015. With an abundance of both talent and experience, Natalie was an exceptional addition to the team.
Yealands’ CEO Adrian Garforth MW said of the appointment, “I’m delighted that she accepted. Natalie is an exceptional winemaker and a wonderful member of the team. Besides Natalie’s winemaking expertise, she’s also an out-of-the-box thinker, full of ideas and enthusiasm, and has the full respect of everyone around her and those that she meets.”
Perhaps unique to any other Chief Winemaker in the industry, Natalie has a Bachelor of Music from Canterbury University, and is a classically trained double bass player. She also has a Master of Science (first class honours), along with a Graduate Diploma in Oenology from the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke’s Bay, where she graduated top in her year. Named by The Drinks Business as one of the World’s Most Influential Women in Wine in 2018, Natalie takes pride in doing her bit for up and coming women in the industry, and worked as a mentor in the 2018 Women in Wine mentoring programme.
Beginning her winemaking career in 2006 with Saint Clair Family Estate, Natalie worked her way up to Assistant Winemaker, gaining a good grounding in the Marlborough wine industry along the way. From here Natalie became Winemaker at Matahiwi Estate in the Wairarapa, after which she travelled to Spain to work for Jorge Ordonez Group on their Albarino project in Rias Baixas North West Spain and their Muscadel project down in Malaga. Earlier experience was gained through harvests in both Bordeaux and Oregon.