2020 Nuffield Scholar profile – Ben McLauchlan

Our Scholars

Ben McLauchlan

2020 Scholar


Living in Rapaura, Marlborough, Ben owns and runs a 102H vineyard growing Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay grapes.

Alongside the vineyard there is also a beef fattening unit, a legacy of the area’s farming origins.

Ben’s Grandfather moved to Rapaura in 1935 and purchased ‘Balvonie’ which forms part of the area Ben farms today – with changes in land use – from Sheep and Beef to Grapes.  This legacy is important to Ben and he is passionate about ensuring the property is passed to future generations in good, preferably better condition.

Ben grew up on a Sheep and Beef farm in Marlborough and witnessed first-hand the wine industry expanding across Marlborough, which in turn led to an interest in viticulture and wine.  Ben studied Commerce, Viticulture and Oneology at university followed by a career in Sales and Marketing in the alcohol industry in New Zealand and the UK.

Ben moved back to Marlborough in 2014 with his family to take up a role in banking with BNZ as a Commercial partner and at the same time becoming involved with the management of the family business started by his grandfather.  He subsequently moved to the Vineyard business full time and now owns and runs the operation.

Ben is Deputy Chair of Marlborough Grape Producers Co-operative and Chair of Rapaura School Board of Trustees.

Ben is focused on guardianship of his family vineyard for future generations by enhancing sustainability through the use of technology found in global primary industries.

Mat’s report aims to provide a model for generating and capturing ideas to solve the wicked problems of food and agriculture.

The key element to solving this is bringing to bear the focus, passion, practical application and entrepreneurial drive of our farmers and growers. The innovation model needs to put them at the centre and build an innovation consciousness amongst our farmers and growers.
Read the full report >>

Current employment

General Manager/Owner
Rothay Vineyards

Other Affiliations

Marlborough Grape Growers Cooperative (MGP)

Farmlands Cooperative Society
Board Observer







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Mat Hocken



Lincoln University 1997
Postgraduate Diploma – Viticulture and Oenology


University of Canterbury 
Bachelor of Commerce -Management Science

Scholarships & Awards

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