During nearly three decades of involvement in the wine industry, Clive Dougall has placed particular focus on low impact viticulture and winemaking. A commitment to working sustainably has forced him to push the boundaries, removing unnecessary additions to wines while simultaneously improving the quality and integrity of those very products.
During 12 years at Seresin Estate, Clive moved from assistant winemaker to head winemaker, and expanded even further for the last three seasons, when he held the title of both head winemaker and winegrower. This gave him the responsibility of managing their three certified biodynamic and organic vineyards, expanding his knowledge and understanding of the entire natural winegrowing process.
Making these in depth connections has been instrumental in developing his style of winemaking, applying a traditional, minimalist winemaking style that allows the true expression of the vineyard to shine through in the glass.
Clive’s work with Seresin saw him travel the globe to represent the winery and sell their wines in all avenues of the wine trade, from michelin starred restaurants, to supermarkets and wine stores. His endeavours have seen him gain a full understanding of the entire organic wine journey, from vineyard, to bottle, to the way in which organic wine needs to be sold and travel through the supply chain to reach the customer.
Prior to his work at Seresin, Clive’s wine story began when he was just 18 and working in a London wine shop, which sparked a love for wine’s ability to enhance so many different occasions and form a sense of community. He was particularly intrigued by the balance of art and science that goes into winemaking.
He travelled to New Zealand to realise his dream with his long-term partner Mel, a Wellingtonian he met in London 20 years ago. He began his New Zealand wine journey working at Icon, a fine dining Wellington restaurant, mixing in harvests at Marlborough’s Vavasour Winery. After honing his understanding of food and wine matching, and realising another passion, training as a barista, at Icon, Clive completed his post-graduate diploma at Lincoln University in 2003 before moving into an assistant winemaker position at Pegasus Bay Winery in Waipara, and later Seresin Estate.
These days, Clive is on the Executive Committee of Organic Winegrowers NZ, and is a member of the biennial Organic Conference Organising Committee. He works on the technical committee for BioGro, New Zealand’s largest Organic Certification body, and previously held the role of chairman for Mana Winegrowers, a group of family-owned organic wineries in Marlborough.
A highlight of his career thus far was when the wines he grew and created enabled Seresin Estate to be accepted into the prestigious Renaissance des Appellations, a select group of winegrowers committed to natural respectful viticulture and transparent winemaking.
Clive and Mel have two wonderful daughters, Amelia and Chloe, who Clive loves to spend his spare time with.