Lauren Swift

Winemaker

Even though she grew up in the middle of Marlborough’s wine country, it took a while for Lauren to decide she wanted to pursue a career in the industry. Her parents had an apple orchard in the Awatere Valley, but in 2003 they decided to pull it out and plant sauvignon blanc grapes instead, and she spent her summers working in the vineyards.

Lauren worked at various wineries in Marlborough, including Clos Henri and Oyster Bay, before heading to the Hawke’s Bay to study a Bachelor of Wine Science and Diploma of Wine Marketing at the Eastern Institute of Technology.

Lauren joined Ash Ridge Winery after graduating in late 2012 and had only been there a few months when she was asked to help build a new winery – and to become the head winemaker. From that point onwards she’s been responsible for nearly every step in the process. 

After the 2013 harvest was in, Lauren headed to California to soak up as much experience as she could. This experience paid off, as Lauren was named New Zealand’s Young Winemaker of the Year in 2015 following a three-day contest that pitted her against the winners of regional contests in central Otago and Marlborough.

Following the Young Winemaker win, she headed to France for a six-week working holiday in the Rhone region. Long-term, she’s keen to stay in the industry and find new ways to use her skills, with ambitions to be a consultant, or have a few of her own brands.

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