Matt Thomson

Winemaker & Director, BSc MSc  

Matt knew he wanted to be a winemaker from a very early age – 16 in fact. At this time he was already collecting and necessarily stashing cases of wine under his adolescent bed. Bordeaux, Burgundy, and anything of worldly repute which his pocket money could reasonably enable him to possess were searched for and gathered. Accompanying this avid collecting was Matt’s voracious thirst for knowledge: bedtime reading consisted of Parker’s Bordeaux volumes, and when the time for tertiary education dawned on him he fashioned his own degree to most usefully suit a career as an oenologist.

Farewelling the University of Otago with a Masters in Biochemistry Matt began working in the Marlborough wine industry quite fortuitously in 1992. The founding of Kiwi-Oeno came upon witnessing, and being an active part of, Marlborough’s meteoric rise to international wine stardom. The need for professional oenological support and assistance was manifest and Kiwi-Oeno has since grown in staff and also in both geographical areas covered and services provided.

Aside from the prodigious array of accolades Matt has received for his wines, a professional highpoint in Matt’s career was winning International White Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in 2008. His expertise and successes in winemaking extend across a sweeping array of varieties with a particular strength in Sauvignon Blanc – this has been assisted by his work as a “flying” (and driving, training, and taxiing) winemaking consultant on behalf of UK distributor’s Liberty Wines since 1994. This has involved traveling to Europe at least four times annually for the vintage, blending and bottling of wines.

This binary oenological existence allows Matt to bring the opposing hemispherical perspective to his consulting work – enabling him to sustain a unique open-mindedness in winemaking whatever part of the world he is in. Marketing and educational speaking also play a large role in Matt’s international schedule, where he promotes the interests of both clients and the greater New Zealand wine industry as a whole. Experience consulting in modern winery design and build projects enhance Matt’s ambit of skills, and interests in vineyards and wine companies both in Marlborough and in Italy introduce a genuine reality check about what the wine industry entails in its entirety.