The Winemakers…

Gordon Russell, Senior Winemaker

Gordon Russell has established himself as one of New Zealand's most recognised winemaking identities with his passionate approach to winemaking, and the enormous success he has achieved with his wines in tastings and competitions.

Gordon was born in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Following University, Gordon's desire to travel took him to England and Europe for three years.

Gordon had always been interested in different flavours and trying new foods, and during his time abroad he also developed an appreciation for fine wine.

In 1986 Gordon returned to New Zealand, just when the wine styles for which New Zealand has become highly regarded were beginning to emerge.

Gordon was appointed as Esk Valley winemaker in 1993, after working for Villa Maria in Auckland as a cellar hand from 1987 and then as assistant winemaker to Grant Edmonds at Esk Valley from 1990.

Gordon believes that the concept of 'texture' in a wine is as important as the aromas and flavours of the wine. By 'texture' he means the balance and harmony of the wine, together with complexity and palate interest.

He aims to produce premium hand-crafted wines that are both elegant and sophisticated, and which truly reflect the character of the individual vineyards.

Andrew Lebioda, Assistant Winemaker

Andrew was born and raised in the vast prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada, about as far from any vineyards as possible. However, known as the Breadbasket of the World, agriculture abounds which instilled an innate appreciation for growing and cultivating crops from a young age.

After working in the hospitality industry the desire to return to produce and farming led him to working on farmstays across Southern France. Surrounded by vineyards and stunning scenery ignited a curiosity for viticulture and winemaking, which quickly evolved into a desire to learn as much about the art and science of winemaking as possible. Since his first harvest in France, Andrew has worked numerous vintages in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. He also completed his Certificate in Winemaking via distance learning from the University of California, Davis. Andrew worked at Villa Maria Auckland winery as a Cellar hand for 18 months before moving to Hawkes Bay to take up the position of Assistant winemaker at Esk Valley Estate.

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