Meet the Maker: Matt Stafford, Chief Winemaker at Craggy Range

Matt Stafford Craggy RangeMatt Stafford Craggy Range

Winemakers, are they artists or scientists?

Judging Matt Stafford, chief winemaker at iconic Hawke’s Bay winery Craggy Range, by his photography efforts on Instagram you’d definitely put him into the artist category but he actually has a science background.

Today, we’re thrilled to share a bit more about the man behind the lens and Craggy’s exceptional wines.

Hi Matt, thanks for your time, let’s get into it:

Tell us a bit about your background and your role at Craggy Range
I have always had a passion for the land and how it can tell many a story. While completing my Soil Science degree I was encouraged to look at the concept of Terroir within the rapidly expanding New Zealand wine scene at the time (2002).

Steve Smith MW (a founding director of Craggy Range) was the first person to respond to me and waxed lyrically about the exciting soils that Craggy Range had just completed the first harvests from. I became hooked on wine and after travelling around working harvests I joined Craggy Range early in 2006.

My current role is to oversee the winemaking and the ‘tough job’ of sharing our wines with many great consumers around the world.

What does a typical working day look like for you?
Why I love being a Winemaker is that there is no typical working day.

During vintage it is spent looking at weather maps, racing around vineyards tasting fruit and trying to make sense of many ferments along with the passionate young winemakers (harvest interns) from around the world.

Outside of vintage it is spent tasting, dreaming and planning, when I am not out showcasing the wines around the globe.

When and why did you fall in love with wine?
When I realised how critical it is to many interesting people’s lives.

If you were a wine, which one would you be?
A good, dry Riesling. Underrated by many, overrated by others and always dry.

What’s your go-to wine at the moment? Which one are you saving for a special occasion?
Chablis is my go to!!! And I am saving my birth year Chateau d’Yquem to share with my wife Hannah when we turn 40 in many years’ time.

Matt Stafford Craggy Range

Matt Stafford, Chief Winemaker Craggy Range

Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
Champagne with Fried Chicken.

Share a fact about yourself that only a few know
I imagine seeing Dinosaurs…everywhere.

Hidden gems and favourite spots in Hawke’s Bay
Running up Te Mata Peak or out to Cape Kidnappers at sunrise is always incredible. Bell Rock and Shine Falls are absolute treasures. And Donut Robot with the kids!

Things you still want to do – what’s on your bucket list?
To be able to run a marathon with each of my 3 boys.

Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
My Mum was always hilarious with a glass of wine in hand.

Find out more about Matt and Craggy Range here and make sure you follow him on Instagram.


Sign-up to our newsletter and follow Sip NZ Wine on: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook