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Julian Grounds joins Craggy Range as new chief winemaker 

New Zealand winery Craggy Range has appointed a new chief winemaker as it embarks on its largest investment in more than a decade.

Australian winemaker Julian Grounds joined the Hawke’s Bay-base winery, having previously been chief winemaker at McHenry Hohnen in Margaret River, established by the founder of Cloudy Bay, David Hohnen. Grounds has also worked in Central Otago, Oregon, Burgundy and Yarra Valley.

He was named Dux of the 2017 Len Evans Tutorial, one of Australia’s most prestigious wine industry accolades, and Dux of Viticulture and Oenology at Curtain University, where he won the Leeuwin/Talijancich award for future leadership.

Grounds takes over from Matt Stafford who was at Craggy Range for 13 years, seven of them as chief winemaker, before announcing his departure in September to pursue other opportunities.

On announcing the appointment in late November, Craggy Range CEO Michael Wilding said it came at one of the most exciting periods for the winery since it was founded in the late 1990’s.

“We are not only achieving incredible success both here and abroad, but after a three year search, the Peabody Family are making their largest new vineyard investments in more than a decade. Julian will play a pivotal role in defining the plantings and trials as we embark on this journey, which will not only support our growth, but most importantly will push our quality and leadership in the ultra-premium NZ wine category further,” he said.

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