Leadership in Wine #1 - Annie Millton

  • Alexis Robin

Annie Millton is without a doubt an iconic woman in New Zealand's wine sector. With her husband James Millton, they own and operate Millton Vineyard in Gisborne. James and Annie established the first organic and biodynamic wine estate in New Zealand. At the time, they took major risks, followed their intuition and believed in their values to produce outstanding wines.

They have influenced and inspired many New Zealand wine professionals to do the same. Both James and Annie are iconic leaders.

 In 2019 they celebrate their 35th vintage (1984-2019). This photo is of Annie's mother, Dorothy Clark, planting the first grapes of Chardonnay in the Opou Vineyard in 1969.

How do you define leadership?

Giving people clear and precise direction. The ability to lead with good guidance, honesty and integrity.  

What are the main challenges of being a leader in the wine industry today?

Size and power of some very large brands and companies giving some very strong leaders – integrity and honesty sometimes is lost. These leaders want 100% of the market place.

What are your major breakthroughs in your career to become the leader you are now?

The first certified organic and Bio dynamic vineyards and winery with in New Zealand. We have been very much the leaders in this field. 

If you were starting your career in 2019 in the wine industry, what advice would you give to yourself to become successful and content?

Specialize and become an expert in a particular selection of Artisan wines. Making top end wines that are true to their style. Up holding a true and honest story about where they come from and how they are made.

“It not about all the awards and the accolades that everyone needs, its donning something you believe in. Celebrate what the land can produce and gives us.”

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