Welcome to Waimea Estate


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Meet our talented winemakers - passionate, creative, and dedicated.

They bring expertise and artistry to every bottle, pushing boundaries and crafting exceptional wines that capture the essence of our unique region.

Hamish Kempthorne

National Winemaker

Hamish Kempthorne

With more than 7 years at the helm of Waimea's winemaking journey, Hamish took the reins in 2016, leveraging his 15 years of prior winemaking expertise across New Zealand's premier wine regions. One of the aspects he loves most about his job is the people he gets to work with—a team of like-minded individuals spanning the winery, vineyard, and sales departments. The diverse range of unique vineyard sites and soils provides him with a balance of cool climate opportunities and winemaking challenges, fueling his creativity.

Outside of work, Hamish is a dedicated father to three free-range kids and enjoys the occasional mountain biking adventure in the Nelson hills. Choosing a favourite among Waimea wines proves challenging for Hamish. However, when pressed, he reveals, "The 2022 Waimea Nelson Albarino truly captures a wonderful sense of place and expression of maritime viticulture. It gracefully weaves an elegant underlying salinity through the fruit."


Shona Kelly

Introducing our Winemaker, Shona! With an impressive 13-year tenure at Waimea, she brings a wealth of expertise and passion to our team. Shona thrives on the exhilarating journey of working with our unique and distinctive grape varieties. Her personal favorites include Sauvignon Gris, Albarino, and Gruner Veltliner.

When Shona's not meticulously crafting delightful wines, you can find her indulging in culinary adventures in the kitchen, where her love for preserving shines through. Additionally, she loves getting into the great outdoors tramping and fishing, and is partial to a woodwork project or two!

Shona's creativity and dedication ensure that every bottle bearing the Waimea label is a true masterpiece.

Shona Kelly
Tobias Schmid

Assistant Winemaker

Tobias Schmid

Introducing Tobias Schmid, our Assistant Winemaker at Waimea Estates. With an impressive two decades of winemaking experience in Switzerland, Toby joined our team in 2019, and we are absolutely delighted to have him on board.

Beyond his work at the winery, Tobi dedicates his time to nurturing the growth of native trees from their very seeds, carefully planting them on his property. Additionally, he has mastered the art of crafting delicious sourdough bread, a talent that the lucky Waimea team can personally vouch for!

When asked about his favourite Waimea wine, Tobi faced a challenge in choosing just one. "That's a tough question for me. If I had to pick one, or maybe two, it would be the Waimea Pinot Gris and the Waimea Cabernet Franc / Shiraz."