Full Name
Robin Akhurst
Job Title
Regional Winemaking Director
Vintage Wine Estates Napa & Sonoma
Speaker Bio
Robin Akhurst is the Regional Winemaking Director for Vintage Wine Estates Napa and Sonoma properties, including Clos Pegase, Delectus, Swanson, B.R. Cohn and Sonoma Coast Vineyards.

A native of Scotland, Akhurst graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in environmental sciences. He also received a graduate degree in viticulture and enology from Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. He’s worked two harvests in Marlborough, as well as a harvest at Burgundy’s famed Domaine Leflaive and one harvest at Australia’s Barossa Valley with Two Hands Winery.

A fortunate suggestion from Michael Twelftree of Two Hands led Akhurst to accept a harvest position in Napa Valley with Thomas Rivers Brown in 2009, working with the team at Outpost Wines on Howell Mountain. Under Brown’s guidance, he learned to create iconic wines including Schrader Cellars, Maybach and Rivers Marie. Following harvest, Akhurst took a position to direct the production team at Envy Wines, a winery and custom-crush project established by partners Nils Venge and Mark Carter. For four years, Akhurst crafted the Envy wines and worked alongside Mike Smith as assistant winemaker for the highly lauded Carter Cellars wines.

In 2015, Akhurst joined the Vintage Wine Estate winemaking team for Clos Pegase and Swanson Vineyards. Akhurst has worked closely with longtime Swanson winemaker Chris Phelps who also worked at Petrus, Dominus, Caymus, and produces his own Ad Vivum Cabernet. After 12 years at Swanson, Phelps moved into the role of Winemaker Emeritus and officially handed the reins over to Akhurst in 2019. Akhurst picked up a comprehensive French winemaking script from Phelps, whose mentor was the great Christian Moueix, building upon everything he learned under Brown, whose mentor was another great French master, the flying winemaker Michel Rolland.
Robin Akhurst