The Undiscovered Treasure of New Zealand

It was 2003 and American wine importer Eric Platt had asked the New Zealand Wine Growers Association to recommend a wine for him to introduce to American audiences. Without hesitation they suggested Seifried in Nelson. Platt was taken aback.

“Nelson? I thought all the good stuff was in Marlborough? And Seifried? That sounds German. I need a New Zealand wine.”

Platt’s skepticism is not all that uncommon. The Nelson wine region in New Zealand is made up of 25 family-owned wineries and is often overshadowed by their neighbor to the east, the world-famous Marlborough region. “Nelson is often discovered by people going there for completely different reasons,” said Platt. “Once they start touring the vineyards and tasting the wines, though, they realize what a treasure they’ve come upon.”

Those traveling to Nelson are typically doing so for a little R&R. It has what most people would agree is a perfect climate receiving an average of 2,400 hours of sunshine a year (or approximately 100 times more than we receive here in Ohio) and with average highs in the low 70s during the summer months (remember: that’s December through February down there). These conditions are not only ideal for humans, grapes are pretty fond of them too. Something that Herman Seifried realized in the early 1970s.

Hermann Seifried was born and raised on an apple orchard in the southeast Austrian town of Styria. This sparked a lifelong interest in viticulture and oenology that led him to study winemaking in Weinsberg, Germany. Shortly after graduation, he cut his teeth in the winemaking industry in South Africa before heading to New Zealand to take an apple winemaking job. He only planned on staying a few months before heading back to Europe until he met a schoolteacher by the name of Agnes. A year later, they were married and Hermann was in New Zealand to stay.

Shortly after the wedding, the young couple purchased some land between Nelson and Motueka and with little more than some hopes and dreams, set about founding a winery. In 1973, the first vines were planted thus beginning South Island’s commercial wine industry. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, Seifried is in the capable hands of Hermann and Agnes’ three children who have focused on growth and the continued production of varietal wines. The pristine conditions along the north-facing vineyard sites create the perfect environment to do just that. With a range of soils from free draining gravels to heavy alluvial clays, the Seifried vineyards create a climate tailor-made for lively Sauvignon Blancs, plumy Pinot Noirs, and a host of other varietals.

Here in Ohio, we’re pleased to bring you three of the best from Seifried’s collection: Old Coach Road Sauvignon Blanc, Seifried Sauvignon Blanc, and Seifried Pinot Noir. Give these stylish, food-friendly wines a try and discover for yourself what a treasure Nelson wines are.  

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