The People


Lex Thomson


Lex is the principal viticulturist for The Viticulture Practice and has extensive experience in Marlborough, Canterbury and Central Otago including periods with Montana, The Peter Yealands Group and Mt. Difficulty Wines.A previous career in the hospitality catalysed Lex’s passion for wine which eventually inspired him to enrol in the Viticulture & Oenology program at Lincoln University. He finished his studies in 2002 and was awarded the Zymus International-Mauravin Prize for being the best performing Bachelor of V & O student in his graduating year. Lex is experienced in all facets of grape production and has a total commitment to growing the highest quality fruit possible and is especially interested in Sustainable Winegrowing and soil management.

Lex is also available to help with any Information Technology problems that his clients may have. Computerisation and precision viticulture will become increasingly more important in the future and both Lex and Franzi are familiar with vineyard and winery management software and GIS mapping systems.



Lex discussing canopy management options with Bruce Kerner of Kerner Estate.  

Franzi Grab

Viticulturist & Winemaker.

Franzi is a native of Switzerland who was so captivated by the clean, green environment of New Zealand and its vibrant wine industry that she became a New Zealand resident.

Franzi has a Masters Degree in Agriculture from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich and in 2001 she completed a postgraduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln University. Franzi is especially interested in organic and sustainable viticulture and her experience in organic viticulture includes work at Kawerau Estate in Central Otago and Vignano an organic vineyard and winery in Tuscany. Other viticulture experience includes periods with Mt Difficulty, Wither Hills and Fromm vineyards.

As a winemaker Franzi’s passion is for Pinot noir, however she is also enthusiastic about white aromatic varieties. Winemaking experience includes vintages at Vignano in Tuscany, Mission in Hawkes Bay, Mt Edward, Rockburn and Mt Difficulty wineries in Central Otago and Indevin in Marlborough. Previous experience marketing organic produce in Switzerland has also given Franzi marketing and supply-chain management skills.


Franzi pressing the Pinot noir at Tua Marina Vineyard.