Bloody beginnings: how a scientist got from cardiac research to wine
Erica Crawford got from a cardiac research scientist to the founder and chief executive of an organic wine brand, Loveblock, "partly by marriage, partly by need, and partly by circumstance", she says.
She runs Loveblock wines with her husband Kim, which they started in 2013 on about 100 hectares of Marlborough's Awatere Valley.
But the South-African native started her career as a medical researcher studying the catalysis of heart attacks.
Eventually her hours in the lab made her realise she would prefer to work more with people and less with their blood.
READ MORE: In my fridge: Erica Crawford
"When I was a young research scientist assistant I sort of realised that I was never going to be a highly published great scientist because I always though my place was with people - for years afterwards I couldn't eat raw meat because the smell of warm blood."
She went on to work in sales for a German diagnostics company in Johannesburg before getting into the wine industry by marrying a Kiwi winemaker.
The skills Crawford gained in logic, statistics and chemistry thanks to her science background transferred quite well into the wine industry, she said.
"The linear and orderly way of thinking as well as the scientist's approach of questioning things have always served me quite well."
She now manages the vineyard, sales and marketing of Lovelock wines, while Kim makes the wine.
"He's in charge of what's inside the bottle, I do the outside parts."
The two first went into business together in 1996, launching Kim Crawford Wines in Auckland.
They have since moved on from Kim Crawford Wines, selling the brand in 2006.
"From a business model point of view, [Loveblock] is a 180 degree difference."
Crawford said her next step is getting her vineyards certified organic.
The Marlborough vineyard produces Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Chenin Blanc, plus a few unusual varieties such as Tempranillo, Gewürztraminer, Muscato and Saint Laurent. The Someone’s Darling vineyard is dedicated solely to Pinot Noir.