Alastair Maling is a New Zealand based Master of Wine, and one of only 419 wine professionals globally who have been awarded the MW title by the Institute of Masters of Wine.
He grew up on his family’s farm in Hawke’s Bay and studied agriculture at Lincoln University. While in school he discovered his passion for wine and decided to return and pursue a Post Graduate Diploma in Oenology & Viticulture, which he completed with distinction.
Alastair then spent the next eight years working as a flying winemaker in France, Italy, Spain, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa. He gained his Master of Wine qualification in 2000, and at the time was one of only three New Zealand winemakers to pass the exam.
In 2002 he returned to New Zealand and joined the Villa Maria as Group Winemaker then General Manager overseeing the winemaking and viticultural program for the entire portfolio.
In 2015 he joined Foley Wines as Group Chief Winemaker and Head of Viticulture for the company brands that included Te Kairanga, Martinborough Vineyard, Grove Mill, Vavasour and Mt Difficulty.
In July 2021 with 26 years of experience in the wine industry, Alastair established his consulting business and in October, began working closely with Mt. Beautiful.
Named by Decanter magazine (2003) as one of five young New Zealanders to “watch out for,” Alastair has also been honoured with the Winemaker of the Year at the Royal Easter Wine Show four times. In addition, he was also awarded the White Winemaker of the Year trophy at one of the world’s most highly regarded wine competitions, the 2007 International Wine Challenge in London.
He has extensive experience and continues to act as a wine judge in the UK, Australia and in New Zealand.
When asked why he made the decision to become a part of the Mt. Beautiful winemaking team, Alastair mentions both the wine style, and Mt. Beautiful’s status as a pioneer in North Canterbury.
He remembers taking notice when Mt. Beautiful was founded in 2004, saying “Mt. Beautiful put itself of the map quite quickly and piqued a lot of peoples attention.” He added that in general he believes his palate and winemaking style are a good fit with the estate saying “stylistically, I love wines that are subtle and nuanced.” He looks forward to taking on a new challenge at Mt. Beautiful and feels “it’s not about making dramatic changes, it’s about asking ‘how do we get the best out of this fruit?’”
We are excited to have Alastair on board as we prepare for harvest 2022, especially since mother nature forced us to “take a break” last year due to a quick and damaging early frost.