Katrina Jackson is the Assistant Vineyard Manager at Chard Farm in Central Otago. She inherited a love of wine from her parents who toured cellar doors with her as a child. At fifteen, she saw that wine was a career option at Lincoln University, with the combination of science and the outdoors, "a huge drawcard for me.”
Katrina began studying in 2014 and had the opportunity to do an exchange with the University of California, Davis. “I was sponsored through university by The Nikolas Dow Memorial Trust, amazing people I still keep in contact with,” she says.
The Dow Family are connected to Chard Farm, so Katrina applied for a vintage position there. After that, she did a vintage at Niepoort Vinhos in Douro Valley, Portugal. But just before she left for Europe, Chard Farm offered her the assistant vineyard manager position.
Katrina is still new to the industry but has embraced it with open arms, putting her hand up for every opportunity. She entered the Young Viticulturist competition, “a challenging and rewarding experience,” and was partnered with Jen Parr from Valli in the 2019 Women in Wine mentoring programme. “It was nice to be able to get out of my little ‘work bubble’… Not only did I get advice, but I also tasted some delicious wines with her too!
Katrina was also selected to attend the inaugural NZ Wine Young Leader’s Forum last year, a career highlight for her. “It was an honour to be selected… discuss potential and current problems within our industry and start helping to come up with solutions.”
Her favourite thing about working in the wine industry is the people. “You meet people from all over who have ideas, stories and who share the passion for the same thing - wine.”
Her advice for others new to the industry is, “Ask for help: know your limitations and ask others around you - it’s a team effort.”
This article was first published in NZ Winegrower magazine and reproduced with their permission.