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Viticulturist Mark Allen Joins The Sacred Hill

Mark Allen Press Release
August 30, 2002

Viticulturist Mark Allen Joins The Sacred Hill Team.

David Mason, Tony Bish and the team at Sacred Hill are delighted to announce the appointment of Mark Allen as National Viticulturist. Mark brings a wealth of experience to the role, and will work with Tony in ensuring the continued success of our current vineyard holdings, as well as developing the new sites that we have recently acquired. Mark will also use his experience, and a keen eye, to monitor and assess any future purchases for Sacred Hill, evaluating the sites for their ability to produce the best quality fruit.

Mark was founding viticulturist for Morton Estate, back in 1986, a role which involved assessing vineyard sites that were often little more than blocks of dirt, and developing them to their full potential. ‘The success of the vineyards was based on careful site selection, a good comprehension of canopy management, irrigation techniques, propagation and operational efficiencies.’ says Mark. This approach saw Morton Estate receive massive domestic and international recognition, in a very short space of time.

In 1989 Morton was taken over by Mildara Blass, and in this key period, technological and viticultural information flew back and forth across the Tasman. Mark says that this was ‘a great learning period, an invaluable exchange of ideas and experience.’

Always keen to progress himself, Mark developed these ideas and built on this experience when he moved to Villa Maria in June 2000 where he co-ordinated the management of Villa’s massive holdings of estate owned, publicly owned, leased and managed vineyards. This saw him hone his skills in strategic planning, site evaluation and vineyard management. ‘My belief is that vineyard location and management are pivotal in the ability to consistently produce wines of high quality,’ he says.

Mark’s experience and development in this huge growth period at both Morton Estate, Villa Maria, and in the New Zealand industry in general, means he not only has great experience and vision, but has an ability to put these ideas into action quickly and confidently. His detailed understanding of vineyard sites in both the Hawkes Bay and Marlborough, especially the latter where Sacred Hill is expanding its holdings, means Mark will be a key element in our ongoing development.

For some time we have sought to relieve Tony Bish of some of the burden that our growth has placed on him; short of cloning him (!) we knew we had to find someone who had a compatible vision. Most importantly we wanted someone who shared the Sacred Hill ethic, applying experience and innovation to the best vineyard sites, to produce the best wine possible.

Mark has all these attributes and more, and we are looking forward to working with him to develop our existing- and future- sites to their fullest potential, ensuring Sacred Hill continue to produce the finest wines possible.


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