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6 & 7 July 2024

Brian Bicknell

Mahi Wines

Brian Bicknell's botany degree took on a whole new dimension when he started working weekends at an Auckland wine store. Drinking wine and learning about it became a passion and from then on his university projects revolved around grapes.

His post-graduate study at Roseworthy College led to work at Coopers Creek, Selaks, Babich, and a vintage in Hungary with flying winemaker Kym Milne. Despite not speaking a word of Spanish, Brian went on to become chief winemaker at Errázuriz in Chile in 1994. 

After a few years he was asked to return to New Zealand to set up Seresin Estate. It was a natural progression to start his own wine company Mahi, in 2001. Mahi means “our work, our craft” in te Reo Māori and Brian focuses on single estate wines, as well as a Marlborough range, made very much as nature intended. “The style of winemaking is very hands-off. I want the vineyards to speak for themselves and produce wines with real palate satisfaction rather than fruit-bombs.”

A winery was purchased in 2006 and quickly ‘Mahi-fied’ and the focus on single vineyard wines and hands-off winemaking has continued.

Brian's Masterclass...

Mahi Wine Blending Session

Saturday 3.00pm & Sunday 1.30pm

Brian's Masterclasses are educational, fun, and just a little competitive! Learn about winemaking, the blending process and how small changes make a big difference because everyone’s palates are different.

Included: a glass of wine on arrival

A brief overview of Mahi, and Marlborough as a region, looking at where Marlborough is and why the wines are so distinctive. 

We then taste through two flights of two wines, all current samples from tank and barrel. The flights are along the lines of:

  • Stems versus whole bunch
  • Two different clones

While the judge is out of the room I then ask for the teams blends and write these up on a white board. Once the judge has chosen the favourite wine the winning team will get a small prize from the winery, and all sorts of hero worship.

Get to know Brian:

Favourite restaurant/or café in the Waikato to go out to:


Most underrated vegetable, cut of meat or seafood?

Can grapes count as a vegetable

The kitchen utensil you can't live without?

Ph Meter

If you didn’t become a chef what would you have been?


What is your one ingredient that is your staple?


Saturday night in with a movie, what is your comfort meal?

Does wine count?