Rod McDonald

Winemaker - Te Awanga Estate

Rod McDonald came to Hawke’s Bay (HB) in 1993 as a young man wanting to be a wine maker. It was 5 years before he tasted his first HB Syrah, and in 2001 he made his first. Since then his love for Syrah has never abated.

In 2017, Te Awanga Estate won the prestigious International Wine challenge in London taking out the Best Red Wine of Show with their Quarter Acre Syrah. It’s the equivalent of winning Wimbledon.

So, you can imagine the excitement when in May 2019 the team learnt they had won trophies for Best Hawke’s Bay Syrah, Best NZ Syrah, Best NZ Red and Best International Syrah at the same event. On July 9th the Trademark will be in the running for the Trophy for the Best Red wine in the world announced London – go you good thing!

When we talked with him to get his views on what influences such success, he broke it down into three main points:

  • Hawke’s Bay is a world class region for producing Syrah.
  • Results like this increase the opportunities to unlock new investment in research and development and contribute to raising excitement and diversity in the wine industry.
  • Results like this are not about individuals, but teams pulling in the same direction.

This is where Rod, a member of Collective Intelligence for 6 years, says our process has had the biggest effect on his business. He is not the only member of Collective Intelligence from Te Awanga Estate, with their viticulturist and winemaker also members.

The result. ‘Collective Intelligence has helped us recognise making great wine means a change in decision making. We take more risks and try to operate with more authenticity and protect what makes the wine more individual. This affects the style of the conversations we have about what we’re actually trying to capture.’

He notes, ‘Personally, it has changed the way I look at success, shaped by my Collective Intelligence team testing my beliefs, and ideas of authenticity. I’ve learnt perfect = boring, and the X-factor comes from personalities being expressed by everyone involved.’

Good luck for July 9th Te Awanga Estate!

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