From pharmacy to prosecco: Casey Mackintosh's spirited ascent in the wine industry

From pharmacy to prosecco: Casey Mackintosh's spirited ascent in the wine industry

Casey Mackintosh is a vibrant viticulture and wine science student from New Zealand, who has made a remarkable switch from pharmacy to the world of wine. 

As the inaugural Wine Searcher Brigato Exchange Scholar, Mackintosh is set to jet off to Conegliano, Italy, where she will immerse herself in Prosecco production for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

"I'm really really looking forward to it and really happy to be speaking to you today as well," Mackintosh says.

The conversation turns to her educational journey, where she reveals that she is in her final semester of a three-year degree, including work placements, one of which was with Villa Maria winery in Hawkes Bay. 

Mackintosh recounts her initial step into the wine industry.

"I moved to Hawkes Bay a couple of weeks after that discussion and pursued Production."

Reflecting on her beginnings, she shares her previous career in pharmacy, contrasting it with the more positive energy found in wine production. The shift from "selling drugs" to the wine industry marked a significant change in her life, to which she humorously remarks, "I just traded one for another." 

A notable highlight of the conversation is Mackintosh's achievement as the North Island Young Winemaker of the Year, where she earned second place. 

"It's kind of a high-pressure day. I think it just pointed out (the) strengths and weaknesses of the winemaker." 

Her love for winemaking is evident as she discusses the industry's community, passion, and the shared goal of creating the best wine possible. Despite her success, Mackintosh expresses a hint of nervousness about her forthcoming Italian voyage, especially since many details are yet to be discovered.

However, she remains optimistic and trusts in the organisers.

"All I know is that I'll be staying with a family over there and flying into Venice, and that's all I know at this point." 

When talking about her favourite beverages, Mackintosh shares her preference for Chardonnay, calling it a variety that offers more opportunity for experimentation. She also mentions her fondness for Central Otago Pinot Noir and her desire to explore winemaking in that region further. 

Mackintosh's departure is set for June, leaving her with some time to prepare for the vintage season. 

Listen to the full chat between Casey Mackintosh and Dominic George above.

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