Name: Kelsey Daniels

Age: 28

Job: Winemaker

City/town: Blenheim

What does your job entail? Coordinating the production of wine, taking grapes, monitoring their fermentation, blending and getting finished wine into bottles. It’s seasonal, and the job changes throughout the year.

How long have you been doing it? Six years.

What attracted you to this line of work? I grew up in Californian wine country. It seemed like an interesting industry. I began winemaking with no prior experience. I was hooked after my first harvest.

What training was involved? I majored in viticulture/oenology at university and have travelled the world doing harvests in different countries. New Zealand is now my home and I love making wine here in Marlborough.

What do you love most about your job? I love that winemaking is both artistic and scientific. I spend time in the lab and on the computer, while appreciating that making good wine relies on sensory abilities.

And what are the worst bits? Winemaking is not always as glamorous and romantic as it sounds. Sometimes you have to jump in and get your hands dirty!

What motivates you in your work? I love the team effort needed to make wine. The people motivate me, and knowing that it’s a labour of love to make good wine.

What are your career goals? I want to make wine for my own label one day, which will take many years of practice.

Do you have any key mentors or people who have influenced you? Winemakers Gillian Maclachlan and Katherine Cooney have been influential in my growth and progression. It’s important to recognise these influencers in your life and I have been fortunate enough to have come across these two in mine.

Where did you grow up and what was it like? I grew up in Santa Maria on the Central Coast of California. Santa Maria Valley is known for agriculture, and is beginning to be known for wine. I had a wonderful education at Saint Joseph’s High School. It was awesome to grow up with a lot of beaches, lakes and hikes to do. I love San Francisco but it’s the outdoor attractions like Yosemite that make California so beautiful.


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