Our People

Peter, Joe and David have more than 146 years combined experience in the wine industry and it is this experience put together with passion from their team that puts Babich Wines in a league of their own. The small, close-knit Babich Wines management team also includes highly experienced sales and marketing specialists whose commitment to quality New Zealand wine is as passionate as that of the Babich family.

Chairman - Peter Babich MBE

Peter Babich’s career in the New Zealand wine industry started at just 16 when he joined his father, Josip Babich, in the family vineyard. More than 60 years later, Peter remains active within the business and is as passionate as ever about its success.
His life-long commitment to New Zealand’s viticulture and wine industry saw Peter become a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1989. In 1995 he was made a Fellow of the Wine Institute of New Zealand and in 2015 he was inducted into the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame. Click here for extended bio

Managing Director - Joe Babich ONZM

For more than 50 years, Joe Babich has been the driving force behind Babich’s innovative approach to winemaking. After joining his father and brother in the family business in 1958, he became a highly respected winemaker and has been responsible for more than 35 outstanding vintages.
His insight and ability has been recognised with numerous honours, including Chairman of Judges for the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, New Zealand Winemaker of the Year, the Sir George Fistonich Medal for Service to New Zealand Wine and the appointment as an Office of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2015. Click here for extended bio

General Manager - David Babich

David grew up with the story of his grandfather’s journey from the other side of the world and his mission to create world-class New Zealand wines. As a child, he spent many hours in and around the family winery. After studying winemaking and viticulture at Australia’s highly regarded Roseworthy College (receiving a Roseworthy Bachelor of Oenology), David joined the family business.
He spent a number of years working on the cellar floor and then returned to university to complete a commerce degree, with a double major in marketing and management. He then gained invaluable experience in sales, marketing and senior management at global pharmaceutical company, Glaxo Wellcome, before returning to Babich as General Manager in 2001.
Today, David’s industry knowledge, management experience and passion for his family’s legacy continues to drive Babich Wines forward, creating the next chapter in our proud family history.

Marlborough Area Viticultural Manager - David Bullivant

David co-ordinates and manages the vineyard operations in the Marlborough region. He has worked extensively in the wine industry, starting as an assistant manager at a large corporate vineyard in Gisborne. Before joining Babich, he worked in Blenheim as Indevin’s Senior Viticulturist.
As well as a Bachelor of Horticultural Science degree, David holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology and is particularly interested in the technical and financial operations of the vineyard.

Hawke's Bay Area Viticultural Manager - Tony Smith

Tony joined the Babich team in 2016 as Hawke’s Bay Viticultural Manager. He has extensive knowledge of viticulture and most things rural in Hawke’s Bay.
His career experience includes time spent working in the Gimblett Gravels region and as vineyard manager at Ngatarawa Wines Vineyard.

Special Projects Manager - John Sowman

John manages all Babich development and improvement projects in the Marlborough region, and was previously responsible for the development and management of 232 hectares across various Babich vineyards.
As well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology, John has significant experience in vineyard development and management.

Senior Winemaker - Adam Hazeldine (NZCS Biology, BAppSc Wine Science)

Adam was appointed Senior Winemaker in 2001. He oversees Babich’s winemaking, cellar and bottling operations, and heads a team of winery staff. Adam has worked for the company since 1996, starting out as a cellar-hand before becoming Laboratory Manager and then Assistant Winemaker. Adam has a NZCS Biology and a Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Wine Science.

Auckland Winemaker - Craig Hoskin (BSc Viticulture & Oenology)

Craig was appointed Auckland Winemaker in 2008. He has a Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and Oenology and first joined the company as Assistant Winemaker. Craig’s responsibilities range from managing the Auckland winery staff and daily cellar work to administering Babich’s Sustainable Wine Growing programme.

Marlborough Winemaker - Jens Merkle

Jens was appointed Marlborough Winemaker in 2014 and oversaw the first vintage at our new Marlborough Winery. He studied Oenology and Viticulture in Germany and has extensive cellar and winemaking experience in both Germany and New Zealand. He is responsible for all winemaking operations within the winery.

Marlborough Assistant Winemaker - Abigail Maxwell

Abbie is a baking-mad, drumming, award-winning winemaker. She graduated with a Bachelor of Wine Science in 2010 and since then, her love of the wine industry has seen her in numerous roles around the globe. In 2015 she was awarded Marlborough’s 2015 Young Winemaker of the Year and has continued to challenge herself with part time study, working towards a post graduate diploma in business.

She joined Babich in 2014, excited to be involved in our inaugural vintage in our brand new, state of the art Marlborough winery. As assistant winemaker, she supports Jens with the managing of the winery, laboratory and compliance. As a young winemaker, she is passionate about future proofing the industry with sustainable, organic practices, sharing in Babich’s winemaking philosophy of producing quality, sustainable and approachable wines.

Sales & Marketing Director - John Lang (Bachelor of Business Studies, Degree in Marketing)

John has a Bachelor of Business Studies in Marketing and extensive experience within the industry and all aspects of the wine trade, both locally and internationally.
He has worked in sales and marketing for Babich since 2003 and now heads this department. John is particularly passionate about taking New Zealand wine to the world and is the primary contact for all sales and marketing enquiries.
Email: john@babichwines.co.nz

General Manager Sales - Sean Hutchinson

Sean has significant experience within the wine industry, with a background in wine sales, marketing and operations in domestic and global markets. He has previously worked for Yealands Wine Group as General Manager Sales and has held senior roles with Pernod Ricard, Allied Domecq, Montana Wines, Glengarry Hancocks, DB Group Liquor Retail and The Regent Hotel.
Email: sean@babichwines.co.nz

Head of Marketing - Nicole Lees (Bachelor of Management Studies, Marketing)

Nicole is passionate about the Babich brand and dedicated to telling our story to customers. She is an accomplished strategic marketer and has worked across a range of industries in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Nicole’s role includes responsibility for the Babich brand, direct and digital marketing, promotion and PR. She has a Bachelor of Management Studies in Marketing.
Email: nicole@babichwines.co.nz

Sales & Marketing Administrator - Karen Hill

Karen has been with Babich Wines since 2005 and assists the Sales & Marketing team with everything from sales reporting to wine competitions.
Email: Karen@babichwines.co.nz

Business Development Manager (NZ)- Antonia Romero (Dip WSET)

A Scot by birth, having spent time in hospitality in London, Antonia came to New Zealand driven by the desire to explore the growing New Zealand wine industry. A passion for wine and education drove her to achieve the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines & Spirits whilst working in On Premise and Retail sales roles for Pernod Ricard, Allied Domecq, Montana Wines. She finds food and wine matching with friends, family and customers especially rewarding, drawing on experience gained from becoming a Certified Sommelier.
Email: antonia@babichwines.co.nz

China Sales Manager - Cai Lei

Cai Lei is based in Shanghai and joined Babich Wines in 2011. Lei is in charge of Babich sales and promotion in Mainland China.
Email: mycailei@vip.sina.com

West USA and Canada Sales Manager - Tom Sorenson

Tom joined Babich Wines in 2013. With more than 20 years’ experience in the beverage industry, Tom is responsible for sales in the USA and Canada.
Email: tomsorenson@babichwines.com

Central and South East USA and Canada Sales Manager - David Belaen

David joined Babich Wines in 2015 and has extensive experience in supply and distribution. He manages sales across 21 states in Central/Southeast USA and Canada including Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Wisconsin (USA), and Ontario/Quebec (Canada).
Email: davidbelaen@babichwines.com

North East USA and Canada Sales Manager - Sam Ferraro

Sam joined Babich Wines in 2015 and has more than 20 years of supplier experience. He manages sales in 13 states in Northeast USA and Canada, including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania (USA) and the Atlantic province (Canada).
Email: samferraro@babichwines.com

Logistics & Customer Care Manager - Julia Cragg

Julia has more than 20 years’ experience in freight forwarding and logistics, including the export and import of air and sea freight shipments. Her expert knowledge ensures Babich Wines are exported safely and securely across the world to meet customer demand.
Contact: julia@babichwines.co.nz

Export Administrator - Amber Barron

Amber comes from a border biosecurity background and joined Babich Wines in 2016. She assists in order processing and export documentation.

Contact: amber@babichwines.co.nz