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NZer returns from Australia to become Goldwater’s winemaker

Waiheke Island winery Goldwater has reversed the brain-drain by hiring back a New Zealand winemaker from Australia.

Jono Mepham, who graduated with a degree in wine science from EIT in Hawke’s Bay in 2000 and has worked at the Heathcote Winery in Victoria for six years, is the new Goldwater winemaker.

Mepham will be based at the Waiheke Island winery responsible for their ultra premium labels such as the Goldwater Goldie, Esslin merlot and Zell chardonnay.

He will be working under Glenn Thomas, the head winemaker for the New Zealand Wine Fund Group based in Marlborough.

Thomas said Mepham had the desire to be closely involved in the Waiheke vineyard which was "essential when working with wines that are an expression of their environment as the Goldwater Waiheke wines are".

Mepham takes over from Nikolai St George who has moved to Amisfield in Central Otago. St George was with Goldwater for six vintages and took over as winemaker from Kim Goldwater.

Kim Goldwater remains on the board of the New Zealand Wine Fund (NZWF), the owner of Vavasour Wines and Goldwater as from April this year. NZWF are also in the process of acquiring Clifford Bay Winery.

As a result, the combined NZWF production should be in the category three status within a short timeframe. Delegats and Villa Maria are the only other NZ-owned category three wineries.

“It’s great to have a New Zealander back from Australia. Jono has been making award wining red wines in a boutique winery environment and we are thrilled he wanted to move back to New Zealand,’’ Gretchen Goldwater, Manager at the Goldwater Waiheke winery, said today.

Mepham has previously done vintage at Church Road Winery in Taradale, Hawke’s Bay.

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