SPOTLIGHT ON: ANDREW NAYLOR, SENIOR VITICULTURALIST

Andrew Naylor, Senior Viticulturalist from New Zealand’s South Island, has been with the company for over two decades and is famous locally for boosting morale during vintage through a music competition. A valued member of the business, we sat down with Andrew to find out more.

* Can you tell us a bit about your role?

I provide technical input into the vineyard operations. This includes deciding which nutrients are to be used, what programme is used to maintain soil moisture for the vines, management of information and records, predicting yields - trying to make sure that our grapes meet the quality needed for the wines they will be going into.

*What has been one of the highlights from your career?

One highlight over my career would be being the company representative on the inaugural Grower’s Tour in 2004 which went to California, Oregon and British Columbia. We visited vineyards and wineries in each region, as well as a research station in British Columbia. The hospitality shown to the group by the company affiliated vineyards that we visited first set an amazing atmosphere for the whole trip and it was a great experience. I was also reflecting on what a great bunch of people I have been privileged to work with across the whole business. Not every person I know is lucky enough to work in an environment like this. It all accentuates the positive.

*Can you tell us about your famous vintage music competition?

Three years ago, I began running a simple music competition here in Marlborough during the harvest period. It stuck, now approaching the fourth vintage since its inception I don’t think I’m going to get away without doing it again! The feedback is that it helps to introduce new people to the team and provides a light-hearted break from the long hours and days of vintage.

*What do you enjoy doing when outside work?

I like making model kitsets of aircraft and riding my mountain bike in my spare time. Spare time is when I’m not in the vegetable garden, flower garden, the caravan, my daughter Emma’s garden (also works for Pernod Ricard Winemakers), doing household maintenance, out walking with my wife Ann!

*What inspires you on a day-to-day basis?

Positive people, the team I work with, their laughter - even at my expense! Great scenery, fresh air. Getting stuff done that helps other people with their job.

*If you had some advice for someone starting out their career with the company, what would it be?

Be positive, smile, lean in, help-out, we’ll teach the right aptitude, you bring the right attitude.

About a year after I started here, I asked my manager if there was a position description for the role I was in. His reply was that generally if it looked useful for the company then you should have a crack at it. Pretty good advice really.

*Can you tell us how you balance work and life?

Worse things happen at sea! Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Remember that you are irreplaceable but you’re not indispensable, so don’t take it all to seriously (you might experience challenges, but 90% of how it affects you is down to how you perceive it!).

There is only one person that gets me to the gym in the morning or stops me getting there – and that person is me. We all know there are 24 hours in the day, if I’m not happy how I utilise them, then I’m the one that can change that. They might all sound a bit clichéd, but if you start with that attitude then you can be a lot more resilient when the going is tougher.

I invest time in me: 4-5 mornings a week at the gym; in the vegetable garden; annual skin check; annual PSA level check, or DRE if the doctor feels it’s needed; I do the things that relax me; I do the things I enjoy. I do it because it means I’ll have longer and better time with my family.

One teacher I had told my mum that I only went to school because my friends did, well I think that’s why I come to work. Luckily, I still get some stuff done while I’m here. It’s all about perspective.

*Do you or did you have a role model growing up and can you tell us a bit about them?

I look at a lot of the people around me at work and see a role model in aspects of all of them. Often you don’t know they are a role model until later in life.

My first boss taught me that a well-timed ‘Thank You’ is probably worth another $1000 a year of effort (back when $1000 was a lot of money). He recognised positive behaviour and reinforced it with praise.

Our elderly neighbours are a positive couple, and I look at them and want to be that way when I’m older (close to 50 but no longer approaching it!).

Sometimes you recognise that others need a role model. I coach a young relative with his apprenticeship material. It gives him chance for a chat about all sorts of stuff, and I can reinforce the skills that he’s learning so that he sees positivity as well.

Thank you, Andrew!