"Despite what you understand about the chemistry and biology, there's still an element of alchemy that remains fascinating," says Matt. "Grape juice in itself doesn't have much in the way of flavour intensity or complexity, but as soon as you put yeast to work, it develops these amazing nuances of aroma and flavour, even within hours. It's this magic aspect that makes winemaking so engrossing."
He had toyed with fermentations even as a teen in Upper Hutt, and embarked on a degree in food technology at Massey University. Having had the realisation early on that winemaking was what he really wanted to do, he completed his honours degree and then a Graduate Diploma in Wine Technology (Winemaking) at Roseworthy College in South Australia.
He worked his first vintage at Vidal Estate late in the 1980s, and later applied his skill as winemaker at some of New Zealand's most respected wine companies - Montana Wines, Seifried Estate, Corbans, Church Road, Ager Sectus and Yealands. After years in Hawke's Bay, he moved to Marlborough in 2005 to be based at The Crossings, while still maintaining his national winemaking responsibilities.
When he heard an opening existed at Marisco Vineyards, he went to meet Brent Marris, and it proved a good fit. He was appointed to the role of Winemaker in 2012.