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EIT Graduand Aims For Winemaking Career

EIT Graduand Aims For Winemaking Career

Graduating as an EIT valedictorian is going to make Thursday (20 March) a doubly special day for fledgling winemaker Angela Beattie.

“I was surprised and honoured to be asked,” the 26-year-old says of representing fellow graduates at the traditional ceremony being staged this year at Napier’s Municipal Theatre.

Angela, who will be capped with a Graduate Diploma in Oenology and a Graduate Diploma in Viticulture, left Marlborough Girls’ High School not really knowing what direction she wanted to take. She still felt unsure after completing a Bachelor of Science (Geography).

So she took time out to travel overseas, indulging her passion for skiing by working as an instructor in Breckenridge, Colorado and a guide in Les Gets, France. She also explored Italy and Greece and lived in the UK for five months.

“I needed to break away and assess where I wanted to head myself. After a year away, I was ready to come home. I was also skint,” she laughs, “but OE is invaluable in terms of what you learn.”

Waitressing at Blenheim’s 4½ star Hotel D’Urville during university holidays triggered Angela’s interest in flavours and food and wine matching. Moving to Wanaka, she combined working in the cellar door at Rippon Vineyard and Winery with helping to train youngsters with disabilities to ski – a rewarding challenge she undertook for 10 months.

“I have this skill,” she says of skiing, “so why not teach other people who are not as able to enjoy the sport as much as me.”

Working at Rippon helped decide her future – she knew she wanted to make wine. Angela chose to study in Hawke’s Bay because she felt it would round off her understanding of New Zealand’s major wine regions.

“I really enjoyed my EIT experience. I also think Hawke’s Bay is a great place for learning about wine because it’s such a versatile region in terms of what it can produce by way of different styles.”

Angela’s favourites are leading Hawke’s Bay varieties – Chardonnay, Malbec and Syrah. She considers Malbec an underrated variety.

While she studied both viticulture and winemaking at EIT, Angela sees her future in winemaking.

“Making wine has always interested me more than the viticulture side, but it’s good to have a sound understanding of that for winemaking as well.”

As work experience, she spent time at de la terre, a boutique winery on the Napier-Taihape Road.

“I felt really blessed to be able to work with owner-winemaker Tony Prichard. He was so willing to teach and I learnt an awful lot with him.”

Angela also combined study with working for Karryn Bish at KTB Wine Brokerage and she is still employed by the Napier-based company, which matches suppliers and buyers of bulk and bottled wines, grapes, juice and viticulture and winemaking equipment.

“I really enjoy it,” she says of her job. “It’s a good side of the industry and one I didn’t know about. It was ideal while I was studying.”


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