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Andrew Keenleyside - Winemaker

Andrew Keenleyside - Winemaker

Andrew Keenleyside has been a key member of the Akarua winemaking team since 2009 when he joined as Assistant Winemaker.  More than ready for the next progression in his career Andrew was promoted to Head Winemaker in September 2015.

Based at Akarua in Bannockburn, Andrew is responsible for managing our 350 tonne winery, which is purpose built for producing Akarua’s premium Pinot Noir and sparkling wines, as well as white wines.

After graduating from Massey University with an Applied Science degree he spent three years as a vineyard manager in the North Island, before realising his ambition was to become a Winemaker and to leave his legacy by producing wines of incredible quality - wines that would be recognised on the world stage.

With seven years also working in the renowned wine regions of California, Germany and Oregon, Andrew’s international experience has provided him with the platform to hone his skills in Central Otago.

Andrew considers vine age and the location of Akarua’s vineyard sites as the two crucial factors that have been instrumental in forging Akarua’s reputation as one of the most significant wine producers in the country.

Andrew believes that his challenge as a winemaker is to capture the intensity of flavour of the grapes at the optimum point; at the peak of flavour and the threshold of ripeness. Central Otago as a region offers plenty of uncharted territory. Every vintage is a journey, with a new set of challenges.

Andrew cannot wait for this new chapter to begin.

“It is an absolute privilege to be given this opportunity. I feel a very close connection to the brand Akarua and its significant reputation. After seven years in the wings my aim as Winemaker is to continue to make outstanding wines in the Akarua style – wines that pay homage to the very special plots in which they are grown. It is my role to continue to build on our incredible history and to ensure that Akarua always delivers well above our customer’s expectations. My goal is to consolidate our position as an internationalleader in Pinot Noir and sparkling wine from Central Otago ”.

Away from the winery, Andrew likes making the most of Central Otago’s outdoor playground, mountain biking and trekking, with his wife Sara, their two young children Jasmin and Archie, and Biscuit their energetic Kelpie.

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