Robert Watkins - CEO: Robert Watkins brings more than 25 years' of wine industry experience to his role as CEO at Mt. Beautiful, placing him in an ideal position to build on Mt. Beautiful’s reputation as a premium wine brand, drive growth plans and further develop the North Canterbury region.
Joining the team in late 2010, Robert is CEO of Mt. Beautiful Winery, Mt. Beautiful USA, and Teece Family Vineyards and farming operation. Initially brought in to get the winery’s US operations up and running, Robert quickly found his role expanding.
“There was zero US distribution,” he recalls, “but also there wasn’t yet a viable farm business, we didn’t have the winery built, we needed to plant more vineyards, and David Teece had - and continues to have - many more ideas to explore and plans to implement, such as our new tasting room in Cheviot.”
Prior to joining Mt. Beautiful, Robert was a founding partner and COO of Longboard Vineyards, an entrepreneurial vineyard and wine business. He has also held a range of executive positions including VP of Sales & Marketing at J Vineyards (Sonoma), National Sales Manager & Export Director at Trefethen Vineyards (Napa), East Coast Sales and Export Manager at King Estate (Oregon) and East Coast Sales Manager at Mantanzas Creek (Sonoma). In addition, Robert has started a boutique fine wine distributor in Northern California, Canopy Wine Group, to assist small wineries with distribution in the US market.
Today, Robert splits his time between New Zealand and San Francisco with worldwide responsibility for all facets of Teece Family Vineyards and Mt. Beautiful brands. He relishes the opportunity to work on this diverse and expanding array of projects while still doing the wine brand work he knows and loves. Robert finds his own philosophy to be a natural fit with Teece’s entrepreneurial bent. “Once you run out of problems to solve it gets boring,” he says, “and with David Teece, that will never happen.”
Sam Weaver - Winemaker: Sam Weaver is one of the most broadly experienced wine professionals in New Zealand. Sam has worked for 35 years as a professional in the wine business covering every aspect; commercial, production and technical. Sam qualified with a degree in Microbiology from London University and subsequently worked in the British wine trade for 10 years, becoming Managing Director of La Reserve, a wine merchant in London.
Since moving to New Zealand with his family in 1988, Sam has made wine in five different countries, graduating to consultancy work with some of New Zealand’s leading wine companies in 1994. In 1997 Sam started his own label, Churton, which is distributed worldwide. He continues to have a base of consultancy clients in New Zealand. Sam has been Winemaker for Mt. Beautiful since its first vintage in 2007. His particular interest is in the production of high quality Pinot Noir. He has made Pinot Noir in Burgundy, Eastern Europe and four different vine-producing regions of New Zealand.
Fin Grieve - Vineyard Manager: Teece Family Vineyards’ first full-time Vineyard Manager, Fin Grieve, comes to our vineyard with a wealth of life experience and a passion for viticulture. A South Island native, he worked mostly overseas in a variety of roles. In 1991, he moved to Marlborough, where he began working in horticulture to satisfy his long-held interest to work with the land. Here he got his first taste of viticulture and decided to specialize in the field, completing the National Certificate in Grape Growing and Winemaking at the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) in Hawke’s Bay. Fin has since gained strong viticultural experience, including being part of a team that developed the first large-scale high-density vineyard in Marlborough. After more than seven years in that role, he decided to take on a new challenge, joining the Mt. Beautiful team in North Canterbury, to ensure that this pioneering vineyard reaches its enormous potential and that winemaker Sam Weaver gets to work with the best possible fruit.
Cori Curtola Gormley - Business Operations Manager US: Cori started with Mt. Beautiful USA in January 2011. She is a Bay Area native and her 25 year background in accounting includes work in the construction, healthcare, property management, and pharmaceutical industries. She also spent a few years as the assistant to the Finance Director at Marine World Africa USA, now Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. In the 10 years prior to joining Mt. Beautiful USA, Cori started and operated a number of businesses including a Paint-Your-Own Pottery studio, a foil imprinting business, and a private bookkeeping service. Cori is an avid sports fan. If she's not at the office, you will most likely find her at a ball field!
Erin Harrison - Business Operations & Development Manager NZ: Erin brings a broad range of skills and knowledge to her role with Mt. Beautiful gained from working and living in New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Fourth generation born and raised on the family farm in Cheviot, Erin has "come home" to Mt. Beautiful and found a wonderful fit between her work experience and passion for the area she grew up in.
Erin joined ANZ Bank after attaining a Commerce Degree in IT Management. She was involved in project management as ANZ Bank merged with National Bank. The lure of travel saw Erin move to BC, Canada for a snowboarding season followed by adventures in Central America and a few months in San Francisco. Erin then lived in Queenstown and Perth Australia, gaining work experience in insurance, accounting, business analysis, event management, human resources, sales, sustainable energy and assisting a busy international entrepreneur on a daily basis.
This "Jack of all Trades" is now settled back in her homeland and spends any spare time dreaming of powder days and enjoying a cheeky Pinot Noir.
Caitlin Manning - Eastern US Sales Manager: Caitlin brings 19 years' wine industry experience to her role as Eastern US Sales Manager at Mt. Beautiful USA. She grew up in New England, spent some time living in Los Angeles, and has been residing in New York City for the past seven years. Most recently, Caitlin was Eastern Sales Manager with a focus on National accounts, at Milbrandt Vineyards. She managed the sales in 22 Eastern states as well as oversaw and managed the Midwest territory, collaborating with San Francisco Wine Exchange and distributor partners, to increase brand awareness and implement sales strategies to continue the growth of the brand. Prior to Milbrandt Vineyards, Caitlin was National Sales & Marketing Manager for Grupo Matarromera. She opened up the US subsidiary and placed Matarromera's seven wineries into 22 states in three years. She implemented a multiple brand strategy, targeted several sales channels, closed important operations with large key accounts and built a solid client base across the country. Caitlin also worked for Levendi and Long Meadow Ranch winery in Napa Valley. She is very familiar with the three-tier system. Before she switched to the supplier side, she was a Sales Rep for a boutique wine distributor and spent several years working in fine dining restaurants in Martha’s Vineyard, New Hampshire and Maine. When she is not working, Caitlin loves cooking and spending time with her husband and two daughters, Elizabeth and Avery.
Tiffany Tonnerre - Western US Sales Manager: Tiffany Tonnerre possesses over 20 years’ combined experience in the food and beverage industry. Most recently she was the Northern California Key Accounts Manager for Henry Wine Group. Prior roles in the wine industry include serving as the Northwest Regional Manager for Champagne Laurent-Perrier for over 10 years, as well serving as a Fine Wine Key Account Specialist with Southern Wine & Spirits. We are very excited to welcome Tiffany to the Mt. Beautiful team and look forward to Tiffany’s contributions managing and enriching our distributor relationships throughout the Western United States.