OWNERS

Tim and Pauline Evill

Tim has always spent as much time as possible in New Zealand, in 1995 he and his wife Pauline bought the Public Trust building in Blenheim and created the Hotel d’Urville. Here he met Ross Lawson and together they began buying vineyards around Marlborough.

After so many years in partnership with Ross and Barbara, it seemed only natural for Tim and Pauline to eventually buy the Lawson family shares when Barbara chose to retire.

GENERAL MANAGER/DIRECTOR

Sion Barnsley

Sion’s family has been involved with Lawson’s Dry Hills since its inception, with his parents being one of the original shareholders. After a ten-year stint in banking, Sion was ready to return to his home town of Blenheim. In March 2000 Sion accepted the role of Business Manager with Lawson’s Dry Hills, becoming General Manager in 2009.

Sion and partner Biddy own a beautiful vineyard in the Waihopai Valley and supply their Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir to the company.

GROUP MARKETING MANAGER

Belinda Jackson

Belinda’s life-long passion for wine began in Bordeaux in the mid-eighties, before returning to the UK and undertaking sales and marketing roles. Prior to coming to NZ in ’95 she was the Wine Category Manager for one of the big brewers, where she was responsible for sourcing and marketing some 750,000 cases of wine from all over the world to more than 15,000 on-premise outlets. In NZ, Belinda worked sourcing wine, managing brands and developing marketing strategies within liquor retail. She then set up as an independent consultant, working across many aspects of the NZ wine industry, including establishing two of NZ’s leading wine competitions. She has three books published and has been a regular wine commentator on Radio NZ. Belinda joined Lawson’s Dry Hills in May 2014.

SENIOR WINEMAKER

Marcus Wright

Marcus’s love of good wine came from friends passionate about NZ’s Wine Options competition. He joined them for various tastings and then competed as part of the team. In 1997 he worked with Montana as a cellar hand during vintage and then as their Cellarmaster. He then headed to South America to work the 2000 vintage in Chile for Vina San Pedro, in the Central Valley. Next was the Loire Valley, France for vintage with the highly-respected Jacques Lurton, making white wines including Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. Marcus started with Lawson’s Dry Hills in 2001 and continues to enjoy producing a number of wine styles from the company’s vineyards.

ASSISTANT WINEMAKER

Rebecca Wiffen

Rebecca began her winemaking career working for Coopers Creek for three years starting in 1997. This was followed by two years working as a cellar hand for a number of Marlborough wineries before heading overseas for some vintage experience. She worked in the Napa Valley (2002) and then Alsace (2003).

Her first winemaker’s role was with Domaine de La Vahnale and Domaine Croix Maro in Languedoc, France in 2005. She joined Lawson’s Dry Hills in 2004 and continues to bring great energy and enthusiasm to the winemaking team.

VITICULTURIST

Mark Ludemann

Mark began his career in Viticulture with Sandihurst Wines in 1987, before moving onto Montana for three years in 1999.

He subsequently managed Seresin’s Organic Raupo Creek Estate for a further four years before joining Lawson’s Dry Hills in 2006. Sustainable vineyard practices are Mark’s focus, together with management of crop levels to ensure premium quality fruit.

CELLAR DOOR MANAGER

Nigel Whittaker

With a passion for wine, Nigel has over thirty years sales experience within the New Zealand wine industry. Born in New Zealand, educated in the U.K., Nigel has qualifications in graphic design and a keen interest in art and history.

Nigel enjoys imparting his knowledge of Marlborough and its wines with visitors to the cellar door.

THE FOUNDERS

Ross and Barbara Lawson

The original company vineyard was planted on Blenheim’s Alabama Road in 1982 by Ross and Barbara Lawson. At this stage they sold the fruit to other producers, before launching their own label, Lawson’s Dry Hills, in 1992. Ross wore many hats during his lifetime: musterer, sheep-shearer, swimming pool/building contractor, opossum hunter, union organiser and of course viticulturist. He was a leading influence in the New Zealand Screwcap Wineseal Initiative in 2001, which saw screwcaps used on 90% of New Zealand bottled wine by 2008. These diverse skills together with a never-ceasing quest for perfection helped shape Lawson’s Dry Hills into the successful wine company it is today. Sadly Ross passed away after losing his battle with cancer in early 2009. Barbara has always been an enthusiastic ambassador for the company, travelling far and wide to promote the range of wines. Her favourite two markets were always Ireland, where she loved the legendary hospitality, and Rarotonga where she has a house and spends much of her time. There’s barely a bar or restaurant on the island without Lawson’s Dry Hills!

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