From nanotechnology to wine

24 Mar 2020

Sachi Rana has ten years’ experience and a doctorate in biotechnology, specialising in nanotechnology. But while she was writing her thesis, she had a light-bulb moment and realised she wanted to have a career in the wine industry instead.

Sachi Rana profile

She moved to New Zealand after her convocation with her PhD in hand, “leaving all the research experience behind” to pursue her new career.

She began her wine career with a Post Graduate Diploma in wine science at the University of Auckland. She was back at school and had to learn everything from scratch, although the science came easily to her. Learning the sensory side was a whole new experience. “Throughout my studies, I was blessed to have really motivating and supporting faculty.”

She found her calling while listening to the winemaker on an educational trip to Hawke’s Bay. She wanted to be a winemaker with a focus on innovation.

During her diploma, she had the opportunity to do many internships at wineries around Auckland and Waiheke Island. She did her first vintage at Church Road Winery, then moved back to Auckland to be a Laboratory Analyst at Pernod Ricard in 2018. 

Sachi is passionate about innovation in winemaking, perhaps because it combines her previous career with her current one. “As I am from a research background, I am very driven by innovation.”

A highlight for her was being part of the Innovative Project at Pernod which allowed focus groups across the business to develop and bring a new product to life. The idea of Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel, a wine finished in aged whisky barrels, was created from an idea of one of their employees. 

A self-proclaimed extrovert, Sachi’s favourite thing about the New Zealand wine industry is the people. “I still remember Randy Weaver, ex-Director of Wine Science at the University of Auckland, once said, “NZ wine industry is very supportive towards anyone who is really passionate about wine.”

She now gives that support back to others. Sachi joined the Women in Wine programme in 2019 and was mentored by winemaker Lynette Hudson. She now represents Auckland on the Women in Wine National Committee. She was also part of the NZ Wine Young Leaders Forum last year. 

She is appreciative of all the support she has received from people within the wine industry over the years. “At various stages of my life, I had people who advised me at the right time, when I needed it the most. I am grateful to all of them.”

It was a difficult decision to change career after 10 years of Biotechnology and move to a new country New Zealand to pursue that career. “But since I wasn’t scared to start everything from scratch and have a very supportive family, everything turned out to be in my favour.”

Sachi's favourite advice:

  • “The world is your oyster,” - ex-director at the University of Auckland
  • “Don’t lose your spark. Live a life with meaning and gratitude,” - a leader from Pernod Ricard
  • “Always give suggestions to someone only after building rapport with mutual trust and respect,” - a leader from Pernod Ricard USA

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