Meet the Team

Nicky Grandorge

Nicky Grandorge - National Co-ordinator

Nicky Grandorge is Leadership & Communities Manager at New Zealand Winegrowers and heads up the Young Viticulturist & Young Winemaker of the Year competitions as well as Women in Wine. 

She has worked in the wine industry her entire career in various roles and has a good understanding of the range of pressures, as well as the joys, which come with different jobs. 

Nicky is passionate about helping people reach their goals and helping them feel they belong to a supportive and progressive industry.  


National Committee Members

North Island

Gavin Dalton

Gavin has been the assistant winemaker at Brookfields Vineyards since 2022. Prior to this, in 2014, he completed a post graduate diploma in wine science on Waiheke Island with the University of Auckland. Since finishing his studies, he has worked with wineries in Auckland and Hawke's Bay, as well as completing a vintage in the Napa Valley, USA.

Gavin has twice participated in the young winemaker competition and found it aided him greatly in his growth as a winemaker. As well as the competition, he participated in the NZW mentoring programme in 2021. He joined the Young Winemaker regional committee last year to help the competition continue to grow and develop the next generation of winemakers in New Zealand.


Emma Lowe



Emily Gaspard-Clark

Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Viticulture and Oenology from Lincoln University Emily has worked in different winery roles around New Zealand and overseas in France, Canada, and Australia. In 2017 she moved back to Marlborough to Spy Valley and took up the role of Assistant Winemaker before moving into the Winemaker role in 2021.

Emily competed in the young winemaker competition twice, winning the National competition in 2019. Since then, she has been involved with the Marlborough and National committees and has loved watching other young winemakers grow and succeed.


Michael Hearn

Originating from Griffith, Australia, Michael has been in Marlborough since 2017 after coming for harvest and liking the place so much he decided to stay. After years of vintages in Australia, Canada, the USA, France and NZ, he pivoted his career within the industry from winemaking across to bottling, packaging and supply chain. This has proven an invaluable learning curve and helped develop a much broader understanding of the industry both domestically and globally as a result. Michael also competed in the 2019 Marlborough Young Winemaker Competition, placing 3rd.

He is involved in the Young Winemaker Competition, NZWG Mentoring Programme, and runs his own boutique wine logistics and services company.

Michael believes that nurturing the new generations of winemakers is crucial for the future of the industry.


Central Otago

Ben Leen

Ben Leen, Winemaker at Amisfield, Pisa, Central Otago completed his Post-Grad Diploma at Lincoln University in 2014. Ben started at Amisfield in November 2014. In that time, he has also completed vintages in Oregon and Burgundy.

Ben has been involved with the Young Winemaker competition at both the Regional and National level for a few years now. He is excited to see the next generation of Winemakers push themselves in a pretty gruelling format.

Ben lives in Wanaka with his wife Lucy and two kids Louie & Zoe. He enjoys life in the mountains. On slopes in Winter and in the lake in Summer.


Margot Best

Margot is assistant winemaker at Mt Difficulty in Central Otago. After completing her Wine Science studies at E.I.T in 2014, Margot left New Zealand to explore the world of winemaking and vine growing around the world, spending a particular amount of time in Burgundy, France.

Margot took part in the Central Otago Young Winemaker competition twice before turning 30, and sadly being too old to compete! She got so much out of the competition that she decided to join the committee to support and encourage other young winemakers to step out of their comfort zone, and to be part of a committee working to grow the experience year on year.



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