The Seifried story begins in 1973 when Austrian born Hermann Seifried and his New Zealand wife Agnes had a dream of making wines in New Zealand's sunshine capital – Nelson.
From small and modest beginnings when Hermann and Agnes grafted new plants late into the night, until today when all three Seifried children have returned home to play their part in growing the family business, Seifried Estate is a company devoted to sustainable winegrowing and producing the very best Nelson has to offer.
Hermann Seifried came to New Zealand to take up an apple winemaking job with the New Zealand Apple and Pear Board at New Year in 1971.
Growing up with five brothers on an apple orchard in Styria (south-eastern Austria), Hermann always had an interest in viticulture and oenology and went on to study winemaking at Weinsberg in Germany. After completing his initial tertiary studies at Silberberg in Austria, Hermann gained experience working for the KWV in South Africa before heading to New Zealand to take up his new role.
Agnes, who was teaching at the local secondary school in Nelson in the early 1970's, was born and raised on a Southland sheep farm and was fresh out of teachers college when she met Hermann.
Shortly after meeting Agnes, Hermann decided New Zealand was where he wanted to stay. They married at the end of December in 1971 and with little more than a dream, the young couple purchased land in the Moutere Valley between Nelson and Motueka. There they began the long process of hand grafting phylloxera resistant rootstock onto vinifera scion wood to propagate plants for their first vineyard. In 1973 on the gently northward sloping clay loam soils these first vines were planted. With 14 vinifera varieties, on two hectares of land, the South Island's modern commercial wine industry began. Hermann and Agnes were true pioneers, experimenting with what classical European varieties may do well in this untested climate and terroir.
Located at the top of New Zealand's South Island, Nelson is surrounded by mountains to the east, west and south (Richmond and Western Ranges), with the cool clear waters of the Tasman Sea out to the north. The gentle sea breezes give a moderated temperate climate throughout the year.
It is sunshine which is the real drawcard however, with an average of over 2,400 hours of sunshine a year, Nelson is often referred to as the 'Sunshine Capital of New Zealand'.
In summer, the daytime temperature can reach 30°C (86°F) on a very warm day, but generally stays around 25° C (77°F) – just perfect for growing richly varietal, elegant wines. The warm days and cool nights during the critical summer and autumn ripening period helps produce wines with intense varietal characters, brilliantly bright aromas and well balanced natural acidity thanks to the diurnal temperature range.
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