Pioneering wine estate Seifrieds celebrates 40th anniversary
Nelson's oldest wine estate has celebrated its 40th anniversary in sparkling style.
Seifried Estate, with its beautiful wooden building surrounded by more than 250 hectares of vineyards, was started by wine industry pioneers Hermann and Agnes Seifried in 1973, when they planted their first grapes in the Moutere Valley near Nelson. They made their first wine in 1976.
Hermann, originally from Austria, came to New Zealand to take up a winemaking job with the New Zealand Apple and Pear Board r in 1971.
About 230 friends, customers, dignitaries and family joined the Seifrieds in the celebration at the estate on Saturday afternoon.
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Agnes Seifried said it was wonderful to know they had survived 40 years through ups and downs.
"It's not been a chore, it's just been the way life has been. I guess it's quite a milestone, people tell us it is.
"We're all set for the next 40."
She said one of the highlights of the past four decades was having their children, Heidi, Anna and Chris, come back home and join the business.
"Them having the confidence in us to continue their lives in the way they were brought up, that has to be a highlight.
"If we didn't have the three kids at home with us, we would certainly not expanded in the last 10 or 15 years the way we have."
One of the guests, Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith, said there was irony in the fact that Hermann was brought to New Zealand to make wine out of apples.
"He thought we Kiwis were a bit daft, and when he dare suggest that you could grow grapes in Nelson, the governments official advisors said 'oh no you couldn't'.
"It's an incredible history in that Hermann defied the official advice, showed that Nelson could not only produce good grapes, but world class wines."
He said the day was a celebration of 40 years since "the founding of Nelson's now very significant wine industry".
"I'm a regular buyer and consumer of their product.
"The lesson for me is that sometimes when people are critical of migration, I remind them off fathers of the Nelson wine industry like Hermann Seifried who in my view is equally as significant of Eelco Boswijk.
"Herman Seifried showed that we could create a whole new industry from wine."
All three children of their children are involved in the business and Seifried Estate exports their wines to 20 countries around the world.
Agnes and Hermann were recognised for their contribution to the New Zealand grape and wine industry in 2014 by being inducted as Fellows of New Zealand Winegrowers, one of the New Zealand wine industry's greatest acknowledgements.
Their youngest daughter, Anna Seifried, said it was a very special day and she was really proud of what the family had achieved.
"When they began, they were kind of going against the grain, I guess stepping outside the square and doing something that no one had really ever done before in Nelson.
"So yeah, just really proud that they kind of persisted I guess."
She said the aim for the future was to continue what they were doing, keeping up with the market changes and trends and maintaining relationships with customers.
"A lot of people here today are very loyal friends but also customers who have been buying our wine or drinking our wine for the past 40 years.
"That's a pretty special thing."