Daryl & Graham Margrain
Margrain Vineyard was established in 1992 by husband and wife team Daryl and Graham Margrain. They had been running a successful brick and block laying company based in Wellington, when they were looking for a different focus, and a challenging project for the weekends.
With a lot of hard work, and passion for the emerging wine and tourism industry in Martinborough, Graham and Daryl planted vineyards, built a purpose-built winery (with their own hands and hardwork on the weekends), conference centre and accommodation - the first of its kind in Martinborough. After purchasing the neighbouring Chifney vineyard they also developed the buildings on the old Chifney site into a very successful café and wineshop.
Graham is now working on retirement, but you'll see him everywhere around the vineyard whether it’s on the tractor, having a laugh with customers in the wineshop, or enjoying the fruits of his labour with the team on a Friday afternoon. Sadly, Daryl passed away in 2019, but we know she would be proud to see her vineyard continuing on with the next generation of the Margrain family.
Michelle & Calum
Michelle, Daryl and Graham’s daughter, helped out on the vineyard during the weekends and summer holidays while at school in the 90s. She became re-involved with the family business in 2008, returning to New Zealand after 8 years of travelling and living overseas. While she was away she met, married, and brought home a Scottish chef, Calum Thom.
Calum has been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years and runs The Vineyard Café at Margrain Vineyard. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Otago University and a Masters in Applied Commerce from the University of Melbourne. Michelle is involved in all things Margrain and loves to bring together all the areas of the Margrain complex to create the complete vineyard experience in Martinborough. They believe one of the best things in life is enjoying great food and fabulous wine with friends and family, and love nothing more than seeing others enjoy this on the vineyard in the Martinborough sunshine.
Michelle and Calum have three daughters. They love bringing up their family in this little corner of the world, and think the Martinborough community and spirit is something truly special.
Strat Canning, whose family has been involved in winegrowing in New Zealand since the late 1970’s, started as winemaker for Margrain’s second vintage in 1996.
Strat began his career in wine in 1987 and gained an Oenology Degree from Charles Sturt University in Australia. His industry experience includes stints as cellar hand, as assistant winemaker, a harvest at Domaine Gachot-Monot in Burgundy and of equal importance, 3 years as Vineyard Manager for a local winery. Having also planted, run and produced wine from his own small block in the township for many years, he has an excellent understanding of the complexities of the region and is totally absorbed with the evolution of flavour and structure from vine to wine.
Working closely with the Margrains and a small but passionate team, Strat has played a key role in the development of both viticulture and wine style at Margrain and is keen to ensure there is no barrier between vineyard and winery efforts. He also takes an active role in marketing and takes great pride in seeing the finished product delivered safely into the various markets worldwide.
With his irreverent sense of humour and clever way with words, Strat’s infamous tasting notes are sure to make you chuckle, and enjoy your glass with a lighter view of the world of wine tasting.
Christopher Robinson, known to one and all as “Robbo” even before he went to Australia, manages our vineyards. He started with Margrain in 2002 as a young lad, following short stints as a chef and a forester. He quickly became an integral member of our team and 7 years hard graft as vineyard boy and then leading hand ensured he was bitten by the wine bug. This saw he and his girlfriend head to Australia where he worked as Block Manager for the vast and highly regarded Vas Felix Vineyards in the Margret River region, between stints of world travel.
In 2014 we were able to tempt him and, now wife, Lisa back to Martinborough to take over his former mentor's role of Vineyard Manager, when Lester Dee retired. In this role Robbo brings together his knowledge, experience and passion to coax the very best out of our well established vines.
When he's not on the vineyard, he enjoys boxing for fitness, tramping the Wairarapa hills, hunting and cooking for friends and family, and enjoying all Wairarapa has to offer with his three young children.
Kate is Margrain’s Cellar Door/Sales/Marketing/Admin extraordinaire. The glue that holds the office together, Kate also manages the Cellar Door. With her quirky sense of humour and fierce loyalty to Margrain wines, she is loved by all that visit our small intimate tasting room.
Kate started at Margrain in 2005, as a part-time staff member in the Cellar Door. She quickly made herself an integral part of the team, back then kicking winemaker Strat off his computer to attend to sales/marketing until she finally secured her own desk.
With a strong background in Wine Sales & Marketing, Kate has over 20 years experience in the industry. When she is not working tirelessly to promote Margrain’s wines, Kate loves to travel and is an avid reader of anything and everything. She has a head full of impractical information, making her an extremely handy addition to a quiz team.