Born into a South Canterbury sheep farming family, Malcolm Rees-Francis grew up with an innate respect for the land and climate, but no great love for sheep. Studying Microbiology at the University of Otago only lead to dissatisfaction with laboratory work, so his next (less than obvious) step was a vintage in Marlborough. Barely knowing the difference between red and white wine meant the learning curve was a steep one, but the epiphany that even tank cleaning could be strangely satisfying thrust a terrible addiction upon poor Malcolm.
This addiction to wine and its craft drove him through the sordid squalor of Lincoln University and deposited him amid the dusty tors of Central Otago, where Pinot Noir rules with an iron fist (although it wears a velvet glove). He was spoiled working as Assistant Winemaker at Felton Road but only in 2006 did he fully succumb to his dreadful addiction by taking the position of Winemaker with Rockburn.