Winery gains global business smarts

Former Air New Zealand boss and current Icebreaker chief executive officer Rob Fyfe has taken on a newly created role of strategic adviser at Havelock North’s Craggy Range winery.

Mr Fyfe said his long-standing passion for business, and particularly New Zealand brands, was behind his decision to accept the role.

He had been working in a consultancy capacity with Craggy Range for the past year.

“I love the challenge of supporting world class New Zealand businesses to realise their potential on the world stage,” Mr Fyfe said.

“There are many businesses, here and offshore, with an outstanding product or service with the need to forge a global brand position, distribution strategy and infrastructure to fulfil the possibilities.”

He said Craggy Range, which had already begun to acquire international accolades for its wines and general approach to the wine-making business, was similarly placed.

The ambition of the owners, the Peabody family, to craft wines that were regarded among the world’s finest along with the vision, the quality of the wines and the experience of the winery team in supporting the brand was “inspiring”, Mr Fyfe said.

They were attributes he was comfortable with as they ensured he was well-placed to contribute to the strategic vision of the business.

Mr Fyfe has a clear vision for Craggy Range – of it producing a wine which international wine experts and drinkers would immediately think of when appraising the very best, and the classic new world wines.

“I want New Zealanders to feel proud their country is producing wines that are recognised as among the world’s best.”

Craggy Range founder and owner Terry Peabody said he was delighted Mr Fyfe, after a year of acting in a consultancy role, had agreed to formalise his involvement with the winery.

“His global business credentials are second to none and that’s where our challenges lie, building brand awareness and distribution internationally,” Mr Peabody said.

“Rob’s experience with New Zealand brands is invaluable in supporting Craggy Range’s ambitions to grow its export markets.”

Mr Fyfe said there was great correlation between Icebreaker and Craggy Range – “where exploring the challenges and opportunities between the two presents an excellent chance to look at each from the perspective of a different industry”.

He said the multiple product involvement ensured there was the potential to “cross-fertilise” ideas and experience.

His main focus would be on growing brand awareness and building distribution in international markets.

“When you look at what has taken centuries to create in Europe and compare to what the Peabody family and the Craggy Range team have created in a little over a decade, it’s actually inspiring – and is testament to the power of the family’s vision and the relentless and uncompromising focus on execution.”

He said globally New Zealand’s reputation had been forged with great value, mid-priced sauvignon blancs and pinot noirs – and there was a big opportunity to gain recognition and reputation outside those varieties and price points.

“What Craggy Range is doing stands it apart from many other New Zealand wine brands.”

He said the Peabody family were committed to creating new world classic wines that would extend New Zealand’s reputation into prestige varietals and blends at a scale which would be competitive on the world stage.

“But more than that, they have recognised from the outset that to succeed and create the brand – the story and legacy they dream of – this must be an inter-generational project. Terry’s dream is that he can create a 1000-year brand with Craggy Range and that is our goal.”

Mr Fyfe has long been a proponent of fine wines and said he was passionate about the “sense of connection” wine created to a particular region.

“The terroir of where the grapes are grown – to me, understanding and appreciating wine creates another dimension of feeling connected to the land, the history, the sense of place that is New Zealand.

“And when that sense of place is combined with a depth of story, with the craft of artisans and winemakers whose skills and knowledge have been perfected over centuries and passed down through generations, that’s when a wine comes to life for me.”

And among his favourite tipples?

“I have a gorgeous magnum of one of Craggy Range’s finest, Le Sol, that I am saving for a special occasion as well as a few gold-medal winning pinot noirs that were a gift from the last Air New Zealand Wine Awards I attended as CEO.”

Article Courtesy of: Hawke’s Bay Today, © Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

For more information regarding Craggy Range, please follow this link: http://www.craggyrange.com