Fiona MacDiarmid — Director Sales and Marketing
Born and raised in Christchurch Fiona completed her BA and Postgraduate degree in Business at the University of Canterbury. After university she decided to broaden her horizons and crossed the pond to London where she ran a branch of a recruitment agency. However, Fiona began to miss the lifestyle of New Zealand and returned home in 1985, working in a variety of businesses before entering the wine trade.
Fiona was attracted to the wine industry because of the passion and commitment of the people she met in the trade. In 1995, shortly after John Coney started The Wine Portfolio Fiona joined the company in a part-time company secretarial role. As the company grew Fiona’s role increased and she soon became full time. In 2002 she was appointed Director of Sales and Marketing and is now overseeing the entire company’s portfolio.
Pete Scott — Senior Vineyard Manager
Hawke’s Bay born and bred, Pete has been with The Wine Portfolio for over 15 years. He began as a Vineyard Operator in 1998, before completing his studies at the Eastern Institute of Technology and taking on his first Vineyard Managers position in 2001.
After taking two years off to travel and taste the wines of the world, Pete returned in 2006, picking up where he left off. His role has expanded to cover the management of seven of The Wine Portfolio’s vineyards located in Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough.
Pete thrives on the challenge of consistently working to improve on previous vintages and has often been heard stating that “if you manage vineyards for 30 years, you only have 30 chances to get it right”. It’s this attitude that keeps him so passionate about the wine industry.
When he’s not off on adventures with his wife and two young children, his spare time is spent enjoying New Zealand’s finest Chardonnay, jet-boating the Ngaruroro River and chasing marlin up and down the East Coast.
Michael Sweetlove — Winemaker
I began my working life with 10 years service in the New Zealand Armed Forces from which I emerged with, among other things, a BE in Mechanical Engineering. I spent the next 21 years as a Professional Engineer – commissioning coal fired power stations; developing and implementing maintenance management software; and finally as Engineering Manager for a company which manufactured equipment for (mainly) waste water treatment. After this company passed through the hands of several multi-nationals in quick succession, I took up my wife’s suggestion to “work in the vines with her” (she was managing several vineyards on Waiheke Island where we lived). For several years I did just that but, when the owners of one of those vineyards asked me to help out in the winery, I discovered my true passion. So between working for Jean “in the vines” and making wine for a couple of small Waiheke wineries, I traded up my BE to a Post Graduate Diploma and an MSc in Wine Science at the University of Auckland.
This was followed by vintages at Gisvin (Shift Supervisor), Chehalem in Oregon, Villa Maria Marlborough (Cellar Supervisor) and Grove Mill (Lab Manager). I then spent a couple of years commuting between vintage at Grove Mill and 6 months per year as the Winemaker at Chateau Puy Castéra in the Médoc. I gave up the commute when Grove Mill offered me, first a one year contract, and then a permanent winemaking position. Following the Foley takeover of Grove Mill in 2012, I was made redundant but had already set in train the move to Morton Estate, now The Wine Portfolio, to be nearer to family. Since the Senior Winemaker, Will Shields, left in May 2016 I have been managing the Katikati facility while combining my winemaking and engineering backgrounds to cater for higher production levels in bottling and look forward to implementing improved production planning as well as BRC for quality assurance.
Leith Ashworth — Winemaker Hawke’s Bay