Meet the team

Heather Stewart

Winemaker

Heather has always followed her passions, which has led her on an interesting journey from studying art history, obtaining a Master of Science in Psychology, travelling around the world, to doing a vintage as a cellar-hand in Marlborough.

It was this first harvest that ignited her passion for the wine industry, with its juxtaposition of science, art, manual labour, travel, cuisine, interesting people and of course great wine. Heather completed a Graduate Diploma in Oenology from EIT in Hawkes Bay, and acquired extensive knowledge winemaking for Saint Clair Family Estate in Marlborough for ten years. She has also worked vintages at boutique wineries in Chianti Classico in Tuscany and Santa Ynez Valley in California.

Heather joined the Delta Wine Company winemaking team in 2015 and in 2017 took over the reins hand crafting the Delta wines. Heather loves the Marlborough region, where she sails in the Marlborough Sounds, rows on the Wairau River, hikes, and practises yoga. She continues to travel, especially back home to the Hibiscus Coast in Auckland to see family and get her fix of art, music, restaurants and the beach.

Neal Ibbotson

Founding Partner

Neal and his wife Judy were one of the earliest private grape growers in Marlborough, first planting grapes in 1978. Their extensive viticulture experience spans 40 years and has allowed them to identify the best vineyard areas and sites in Marlborough. The Delta Vineyard being a perfect example of this.

In 1994 Neal and Judy established Saint Clair Estate Wines which now sells to over 70 markets world-wide. In 2005 they built a state of the art winery at Riverlands Estate in Marlborough where the Delta Wines have been crafted from the 2015 vintage onwards.

Neal sees the building of knowledge to be one of the keys to quality wine, and points to a collaborative effort from their team, both in the vineyards and the winery and entire wine industry for being able to build that knowledge.

Alison Downs

Brand Manager

Alison’s interest in wine began at a young age whilst working at a fine dining restaurant in her hometown of Colchester, UK. During this period, she spent time in Epernay, France, learning about Champagne production, and was guided by experienced sommeliers on how to select wines for food pairing and wine lists. This sparked an endless interest in wine and viticulture.

She took an interesting journey, by initially gaining a degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Warwick and then going on to study at the London Wine School to gain her WSET Levels 2 and 3 in Wine & Spirits. More recently in 2016, she moved to New Zealand and began working with the Delta team in Marlborough.

Her on-trade experience means she’s hugely passionate about supporting the restaurant industry and is always learning about new food and wine pairings. She is endlessly enthusiastic about New Zealand wine, with Pinot Noir being her favourite grape variety, and is happily settled in Marlborough with her partner Scott, and cat Warren.