Wayne Donaldson has been a leader in the international wine industry for 27 years. His career began in his homeland of Australia where he earned an enology degree from the prestigious Roseworthy Agricultural College. Following graduation from college, Wayne began his career working as assistant winemaker at high-end table wine producer Brokenwood Wines. In 1988, while earning his Graduate Diploma in Management from Deakin University in Victoria, he became a founding member of the Domaine Chandon Australia winemaking team. Over the next eleven years, he rose to Chief Winemaker and Operations Manager, creating both a sparkling wine and still wine portfolio, which garnered numerous domestic and international awards including “Best Sparkling Wine of the Year” at the 1998 International Wine Challenge held in London.

In 2000 he was promoted to vice-president of winemaking and vineyards for Domaine Chandon California, and parent company, Moet Hennessy USA. This new position, headquartered in Napa Valley, broadened his role to direct all of the company’s sparkling and still wine programs. It also afforded him the opportunity to elevate the quality and prestige of the American sparkling wine brand, with success evidenced by two consecutive years of double-digit growth and doubled profits. During five years in the position he also led the development and launch of the winery’s first varietal still wine program, designed several new sparkling wine styles, planted new vineyards, and reconfigured the winery and winemaking program for higher quality at lower overhead. In 2003 Newton Vineyards was acquired by Moet Hennessy. Wayne joined the board of Directors for Newton Vineyards advising on the strategic development of Newton’s Spring Mountain vineyard and winery facility.

After five years at Domaine Chandon, in 2005 Wayne seized the opportunity to become director of north coast winemaking for E&J Gallo Winery, the largest privately owned wine group in the United States. Responsible for all Bordeaux varietal brands, all Pinot Noir brands, the William Hill Winery brand and the Louis Martini brand, Wayne oversaw all elements of the business, including wine style development, wine quality, grape supply, portfolio communication and budget control. By 2008 he was promoted to senior director of coastal winemaking, which held Wayne responsible for all wine grape varietals across all of Gallo’s premium portfolio brands; the winemaking facilities in Napa County, Sonoma County, and Santa Barbara County.  During that time, Wayne was responsible for the winemaking, wine style development, and launch of three new successful wine brands: Starborough, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc: Ghost Pines, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay from Napa and Sonoma: and Red Rock, a Merlot and Malbec from California. 

With experience in many of the world’s finest wine growing regions including Champagne, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and California and knowledge of all aspects of he wine business, Wayne decided to expand his repertoire and launch his own winery consulting business.  And in 2013, he further flexed his entrepreneurial wings and launched the inaugural release of his own wine brand--EONIAN.

When he’s not making wine, Wayne enjoys cooking and mountain biking the rugged mountain trails of Napa Valley.

Donaldson Wine, LLC © 2009