Winemaker, Paula Kornell Sparkling Wine
A native of Scotland, Robin Akhurst’s winemaking career took him around the globe before arriving in Napa Valley, where he has been learning the ins and outs of California’s terroir since 2009. He’s now Director of Winemaking for Napa and Sonoma for Vintage Wine Estates, which includes overseeing the winemaking for Clos Pegase, Swanson Vineyards, and his own brands, Apsara Cellars and Library Collection Wines.
Robin’s passion for wine began in restaurants, first working as a sommelier in Edinburgh, then to retail, working for one of London’s leading independent wine merchants. While he expanded his palate and gained a good sense for what to look for in quality wine, his thirst for knowledge also grew. Motivated by the desire to learn all aspects of production, Robin moved to New Zealand where he earned a Post Graduate degree in Viticulture and Enology from Lincoln University in Christchurch. After working harvests in Languedoc, Marlborough, Burgundy, and the Barossa Valley, he landed in the Napa Valley.
Robin’s tenure in California has fostered an invaluable education in grape growing and winemaking, rooted in the search of balance and crafting wines that are true to the site, vineyard, and culture. Today, he takes on the exciting new challenge of sparkling wine production with Paula Kornell – his first opportunity to produce the style of wine he’s always adored drinking.
When he’s not walking vineyards or in the cellar with his energetic golden retriever Knox, whose “selective hearing” can sometimes get him into trouble, Robin is with his wife Aneeta and daughter Zahra, seeking out racetracks on his motorcycle, or nurturing his musical side through dutiful practice – though perhaps less so during harvest – on his guitar.
Country born: Scotland
Years in the wine industry: 15-20 years