Robert Watkins brings more than 20 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.”