Monday, 03 June 2024 15:25

NZW Fellow awarded doctorate

Written by  Staff Reporters
Steve Smith MW Steve Smith MW

A 40-legacy in New Zealand's wine industry, including an "outstanding contribution" as alumni and Chancellor of Lincoln University, has seen Steve Smith MW awarded an honorary doctorate from the university.

The viticulturis and wine company founder, who was named a New Zealand Winegrowers Fellow in 2021, was Chancellor from 2016 to 2018, at a time of financial pressure.

He led Lincoln through a period of transformation to a bright re-focused future, the university said in awarding the doctorate.

“Steve brought a remarkable portfolio of governance experience, professional development, commercial acumen and business success to the task with which he was entrusted.”

Steve was the first viticulturist in the world to become a Master of Wine, co-founded and led Craggy Range for 16 years, and was twice named in the list of 50 most influential people in the world of wine.

A love of academia and governance led him to several professional development programmes at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and to ministerial appointments with government and sector bodies.

“By far the most challenging, but also the most rewarding, was my three years at Lincoln University, where we used all my Stanford learnings to lead the reinvigoration of the university and its role in New Zealand society,” he says. “Today it is thriving, when many are not.”

The period outside wine gave him a fresh perspective on an industry that “captures everything I love”.

Since then, he and American entrepreneur Brian Sheth have launched Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine Estates, umbrella to the Smith & Sheth, Pyramid Valley and Lowburn Ferry labels.

“The three properties we now own are, to my eye, amongst the world’s finest Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah estates,” Steve says. “Our vision is to capture that potential, producing fine wines through the lens of nature that can only come from these places.”

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