Who do you admire most in the world of wine and why?
Sounds cheesy to say, but I’d have to say my Dad, Hermann. A true pioneer of the NZ wine scene, he was one of New Zealand’s first qualified oenologists (prior to this most Kiwi winemakers were from a food science background).
When you talk about passion for wine, this is Dad in a nutshell! From planting the ideal clones and varieties on special sites he’s found, to those early days in the nursery, and ensuring each little plant gets everything it needs to thrive, to the 20 hour days during harvest – he loves it all! At the age of 72 Dad is still the first in the gate every morning, and last to turn the lights out. The only thing he loves more than a work day out in the vineyard, or at the winery, is time out on his boat kicking back with a line over the side (with the grandkids teaching him how to do it ‘right’)!
What wine variety are you most excited about for it’s future in NZ?
My parents are all about experimentation when it comes to wine – that’s one reason we’re growing Würzer and Zweigelt in Nelson!
Juicy, fruit-rich aromatics with good acid framework are something that we drink a lot of at home. Of course Riesling will always be the darling grape, but varieties like Grüner Veltliner and Gewürztraminer are doing really well in some key NZ locations too. We are also seeing a move to the more restrained style of Sauvignon Blanc, like what we produce in Nelson so we have been planting new vines in specific terroirs to keep up with demand. As we see more fusion and oriental persuasion in our dining, these are varieties that definitely have a place on a wine list.
Have you had a “wine moment” ? Like a specific point in time where you knew you wanted to work in the wine industry?
Growing up in the wine world means I don’t really have one defining moment! From a young age, I was encouraged to taste and think about wine with food, so always knew it wasn’t really like any other product.
My parents used to travel a lot (and sometimes took us kids with them to combine a family holiday), so the understanding that we could be Kiwi-country-kids riding our bikes in the vineyard, and then travel to exciting places to visit customers seemed like the perfect way to experience the world. The fact that we always had bottles of wine to take along was just another perk!
What are your 5 favourite wines available at The New Zealand Cellar?
So aside from Seifried obviously, oh, so much good stuff to choose from!
…and of course a NZ list wouldn’t be complete with a classic Kiwi Sauv. I’d go the Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc for a little taste of Marlborough!
Is there a specific wine region you benchmark your wines against?
We’ve been tasting a lot of Austrian and New Zealand Grüner Veltliner recently to see how the styles differ. Stylistically NZ is still so young when it comes to Grüner, but we’re definitely seeing much richer examples coming from some of the more established NZ vineyards. I think New Zealand has a lot of potential with these styles.
What is your biggest learning curve you’ve met working in the industry?
The importance of networking. People in wine tend to stay for a long time! Even if they’re working with different importers or wholesalers or retailers, when someone moves on from a role, they invariably show up somewhere else... I love that.
We have recently opened our other half ‘The Australian Cellar’ - Have you tasted many Australian Wines and if so which region are you most excited for?
I have definitely tasted my fair share!I studied in Adelaide so spent most weekends out exploring the Barossa or McLaren or the Hills. Being the Riesling girl I am, I naturally gravitate here – no matter the season! I do love the super-minerally Clare Valley Rieslings.
So - set the scene for us. You are having the night of your life ….
What are you drinking (from your range?)
A good night out always starts with some bubbles, so there is always a bottle of two of our Aotea Méthode Traditionnelle in the fridge ready to go! I usually switch to something light and fruity after that – Riesling in summer, maybe a Grüner or Chardonnay if it’s cold and dark outside.
Who are you drinking it with?
I am lucky enough to live in the same town I grew up in. Over the years old school friends who I’ve known now for 20+ years have filtered home to raise their young families. We’re a pretty social bunch and try to get together most Friday nights for a re-cap on the week, and a glass or two of something delicious.
What are you eating?
Living in Nelson, we’re inundated with plenty of good seafood from the Bay – and I’m lucky enough to know a few good fisherman and divers who are always very generous with their catch! I wasn’t really into seafood as a child, but as a latecomer I’m making up for it now with local goodness straight from the sea – Crayfish, Tarakihi, and Snapper sashimi are hard to beat.
And What music is playing?
Some Kiwi-funk/dub/soul – Fat Freddie’s Drop, Blackseeds, Kora, Hollie Smith – good toe tapping, happy tunes – best enjoyed with people you love – or like a lot!
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