One of the country’s most experienced Sommeliers has been appointed Customer Experience Manager at Craggy Range Winery in Hawke’s Bay. Advanced sommelier Michael Bancks is working towards becoming New Zealand’s second only Master Sommelier and returns to Craggy Range after three years in France. Formerly Manager of Craggy Range’s Terrôir Restaurant for six years from 2004, Bancks was awarded the title of Sommelier of the Year at the Culinary Fair in 2008 while in that role.
During his time in France, Bancks developed his fine wine and hospitality skills as Maître d’ at the Michelin Star restaurant of famed chef Michel Guerard at Les Prés d’Eugénie. Les Prés d’Eugénie served as the inspiration for Terrôir Restaurant after Terry and Mary Peabody shared a memorable meal at the estate.
At Craggy Range, he is responsible for the Visitor Hosting Programme showcasing the winery’s unique experience to visitors and key influencers from around the world. He is also responsible for managing the Cellar Door. Bancks says he is delighted to be coming home to Hawke’s Bay, one of New Zealand’s most popular food and wine regions. “I am really enjoying being home in the Bay and very much looking forward to working with the Craggy Range team again. It was a tremendous three years in France where I was fortunate to be under the patronage of such a brilliant restaurateur as Michel Guerard.
“Working in an establishment that has famously held three Michelin Stars continuously since 1977 has provided a wonderful benchmark for my career. Craggy Range wines are inspired by the old world styles I have experienced in France but nurtured in the finest new world terroir and I am excited to share the Craggy Range philosophy with visitors from around the world.”
Craggy Range Chief Executive Officer Michael Wilding says everyone is delighted to welcome Michael back to the Craggy Range team. “Michael’s passion and experience as both a sommelier and Maître d’ brings enormous credibility to the role. The Visitor Hosting Programme is an integral component of growing our brand globally and we look forward to extending our hosting programme, creating and launching more layers to our Craggy Range experience over the coming months.
“Michael always has been a phenomenal Craggy Range ambassador and truly understands and shares the Craggy Range philosophy, so we are very fortunate to have him leading our visitor hosting programme and the cellar door.” Michael took up his role at Craggy Range in May.
Michael will be at the Cellar Club in September. Check events for details.