The nitty gritty of wine­mak­ing

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - BRENDA WEBB

This story was orig­i­nally pub­lished in Wine­press Mag­a­zine and is re­pub­lished with per­mis­sion. It is the first in our se­ries called Gen Y-ine.

Ed­ward Mac­don­ald’s first job at Hunter’s Wines was clean­ing the pool and mow­ing the lawns.

The son of gen­eral man­ager Peter Mac­don­ald and nephew of Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Jane Hunter spent many week­ends and school hol­i­days at the Ra­paura Rd win­ery, soon grad­u­at­ing to vine­yard work and trac­tor driv­ing.

Dur­ing univer­sity hol­i­days Ed­ward came back to do cel­lar work, but says there was never any ex­pec­ta­tion he would step into the fam­ily busi­ness.

‘‘It was al­most the op­po­site. There was cer­tainly never any pres­sure on me to work here.’’

The Mac­don­ald fam­ily moved to Marl­bor­ough in 1991, when Peter came to help Jane run the busi­ness, af­ter her hus­band Ernie Hunter died in 1987.

Peter’s son James, now Hunter’s chief wine­maker, was 4 at the time and Ed­ward was born in Marl­bor­ough, mak­ing him ‘‘the only true Kiwi in the fam­ily’’.

The brothers went to Marl­bor­ough Boys’ Col­lege be­fore head­ing off down dif­fer­ent ca­reer paths – James fol­low­ing the wine­mak­ing route at Lin­coln Univer­sity and Ed­ward head­ing to Vic­to­ria Univer­sity to do his Bach­e­lor of Com­merce.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing his de­gree, he went to Lon­don, but re­turned with his part­ner when the right job came up at Hunter’s.

‘‘The tim­ing was right – our visas were run­ning out and the lease on our flat was com­ing up. We were sick of the hus­tle and bus­tle of Lon­don and never hav­ing any money. The time seemed right to re­turn home to Marl­bor­ough – we wanted to have an­i­mals and buy our own house.’’

He re­turned home and moved into the ad­min­is­tra­tive co­or­di­na­tor role at Hunter’s, where he still works to­day and is re­spon­si­ble for the num­bers side of the busi­ness, in­clud­ing jug­gling the lo­gis­tics of the com­pany’s bot­tling line, ac­counts and ex­ports.

Ed­ward has also taken on a mar­ket­ing role and is re­spon­si­ble for Hunter’s so­cial me­dia pro­file.

While many young­sters who grow up on vine­yards tend to step into the wine­mak­ing or viti­cul­tural side, Ed­ward was happy to leave that to James.

‘‘I like the idea of an of­fice. While some would say it’s not as sexy as wine­mak­ing, I find it quite ful­fill­ing,’’ he says. ‘‘The win­ery didn’t ap­peal. I like the fi­nan­cial and bud­get­ing as­pects – the nitty gritty side of it.’’

He par­tic­u­larly en­joys the chal­lenge of world mar­kets and see­ing how busi­nesses sur­vive, par­tic­u­larly in tough times.

Be­ing fam­ily doesn’t mean an easy ride, Ed­ward says.

‘‘In fact, I think we have to work harder to prove our­selves ... we are con­stantly on call.

‘‘There are pros and cons and this role cer­tainly wasn’t cre­ated for me – it be­came avail­able and I had the right skills.’’

The brothers have quite dif­fer­ent roles but clearly com­ple­ment one an­other, he says.

‘‘He’s got his team and I’ve got mine ... we are both big food­ies and very much into wine – we both had such a good ad­van­tage in terms of grow­ing up in the in­dus­try.’’


De­spite his fam­ily be­ing knee-deep in viti­cul­ture, Ed­ward Mac­don­ald says there was never any pres­sure for him to work in the busi­ness.

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