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Our People

Sam Davies
Sam Davies
Winemaker

Coming to Central Otago is a lifelong ambition for winemaker Sam Davies. With a wealth of winemaking experience collected from some of the world’s great wine regions, he has found his special place below Mount Pisa at Amisfield. Sam hails from Auckland and graduated from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Viticulture & Oenology in 2008. Since then he has seen vintages in wineries from Waiheke to Portugal’s Alentejo and Douro regions, the Adelaide Hills, Tasmania, Victoria and Margaret River.
Making the most of Central Otago living, Sam enjoys getting up on the skifields and getting out on the lakes. Spending time with his family, playing music, good food and good company are central in Sam’s life.

André Lategan
André Lategan
Vineyard Manager

Born on a wine farm in South Africa’s Western Cape , wine farming is in André’s blood. André moved to New Zealand’s South Island in search of a new life with his family, and he found just that at Amisfield. Since then André has watched his daughter grow up between the vines that he's helped plant, grow and take care of.

André has now spent over a decade growing grapes at Amisfield and finds great reward at the end of a season – knowing what a challenge each vintage was to grow through the exquisitely stark and contrasting conditions the region offers.

Adopting Central Otago and the Amisfield vineyard as his family’s home, André spends his time enjoying visits to his family’s crib on the Dunedin coast.

Vaughan Mabee
Vaughan Mabee
Executive Chef

Vaughan’s love of cooking was inherited through his mother, who trained him to bake before he could even see over the counter. After beginning his career in some of Auckland’s top restaurants, Vaughan spent a decade building his experience at some of the best restaurants in the world.

Vaughan is passionate about sourcing quality New Zealand produce. In the kitchen, his elegant dishes complement the variety of Amisfield wines, and he loves nothing more than the excitement each lunch or dinner service brings.

Out of the kitchen, Vaughan spends time with his family, or can be found hunting, fishing, and foraging for native New Zealand foods.

Craig Erasmus
Craig Erasmus
CEO

Before joining Amisfield in June 2012, Craig spent several years working in some of Marlborough’s best known wineries, filling roles ranging from Cellar Hand through to Chief Operating Officer.

Originally qualified as a Chartered Accountant, Craig’s OE saw him spending six years in London in a variety of corporate development roles. It was during his travels abroad to wine regions in Europe and North & South America that his passion for wine, and in particular cool-climate wine regions, was kindled and in 2004 Craig completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln University.

Away from Amisfield, Craig spends his time with his family, or outdoors hiking, snowboarding or fishing around Central Otago.

Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart
Food & Beverage General Manager

Tony brings a lifetime's experience in hospitality, to the team at Amisfield and Jack's Point. Having previously been the proprietor of acclaimed Auckland fine-dining restaurant Clooney, Tony is one of New Zealand’s leading restaurateurs. Tony now leads the restaurant team at Amisfield working with Chef Vaughan Mabee to create the experience which has seen Amisfield recognised with 3 Hat status and named NZ restaurant of the Year 2022. Coming to Amisfield has allowed him to combine his passion for sharing the southern lakes lifestyle, food and wine with our guests.

Olivia Herbert
Olivia Herbert
Sales Manager

Olivia’s love for travel landed her in the hospitality industry. Through her 20s, Olivia worked in fine dining restaurants from Perth, to London, the USA, and Europe and everywhere in between. After moving back to New Zealand she took up a part time job at Amisfield’s Cellar Door for a season of skiing. 15 years later and Olivia has worked her way through five official job titles and has definitely found her niche doing something she loves.

When she’s not working, Olivia is found walking around the beautiful lakes of Queenstown, chatting the night away with friends and family and always looking for opportunities to travel.

Lauren Goff
Lauren Goff
Wine Club & Direct Sales Manager

Somewhat of an intrepid traveller, Lauren arrived in Central Otago all thanks to a sale on airfares and has been with Amisfield ever since (not including a sabbatical to the UK).

Hailing from a prominent wine region in Australia, Lauren has been involved in wine since her first part-time job at the Brown Brothers Cellar Door in Milawa, Victoria. Only when she landed in Queenstown did she understand the locals’ obsession for Pinot Noir. Lauren takes great pride in educating people on all things Amisfield and (now) her favourite tipple Pinot Noir.

Away from the winery, Lauren can be found with friends who are more like family, soaking up the sunshine on a bluebird day up the mountain.

Ben Leen
Ben Leen
Assistant Winemaker

Ben is a born and bred Wellingtonian. He started as cellar hand at Amisfield shortly after arriving in Central Otago in 2014.

Ben’s fascination with grapes began in the Beaujolais region of France in 2009 where he worked with a small family-run Domaine. He returned to NZ with a new love for grapes and wine. He hit the books and completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Winemaking and Viticulture at Lincoln University, Canterbury. He loves working with Pinot Noir and has a soft spot for Riesling. He loves the buzz and dynamism of harvest but the most rewarding part is sharing Amisfield wines with family and friends.

Ben lives in Wanaka with his wife Lucy, son Louie, daughter Zoe and furry pup Freddie. He loves the beauty of Central Otago, splashing in the lake in Summer and hitting the slopes in Winter.

Marek Przyborek
Marek Przyborek
Sommelier

Marek’s career in wine began in Warsaw, Poland. After curating wine lists for a number of restaurants and being named Sommelier of the Year, he moved to the UK to take become the sommelier at the Michelin-starred Northcote. In 2018 he purchased a one-way ticket across the globe and arrived in Auckland where he was also named Sommelier of the Year! After three years on the north island, Marek has joined the team at Amisfield to add some first-hand winemaking knowledge to his regular duties of matching extraordinary wines with extraordinary dishes.
As well as having been Sommelier of the Year in both his native Poland and New Zealand, Marek is the proud holder of Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced, WSET Level 3 and ASI Diploma in Gold.

Richard Birkby
Richard Birkby
Marketing Manager

From apparel to tourism Richard has helped brands articulate their stories and sell. But coming to Amisfield and immersing himself in organic viticulture and our local, seasonal philosopy has been revelatory for someone who has spent most of their career in an advertising agency. It’s now hard to stop him proselytising that approach, which is why he looks after marketing. He tells a lot of stories.

Richard lives in Wanaka with his family and likes bikes, boards and losing fishing tackle in bushes.

George Mackersy
George Mackersy
Assistant Vineyard Manager

George started his career with an Apprenticeship in Horticulture at Dunedin Botanic Garden. His passion for plants and the outdoors led to further education at Lincoln University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology in 2013. After working harvests in Marlborough, Wairarapa, Central Otago and two seasons in Germany he returned to settle in Central Otago.

George started with Amisfield in 2018 drawn by the opportunity of working for an industry leading organic producer of premium Pinot Noir. He loves the challenges of the Central Otago climate and our incredible site under the Pisa Range. Outside of viticulture George loves spending time in to his garden in rural Central Otago with family, friends and Lucy the wild Labrador x GSP.