Pyramid Valley is a 2.2ha biodynamic Pinot Noir & Chardonnay vineyard in one of the lesser known wine growing regions, North Canterbury.
Let’s find out more about this boutique winery from co-owner & co-founder Claudia Weersing, who is also the viticulturist at Pyramid Valley.
Hi Claudia, thank you very much for your time…
Please tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m a 45 year old woman from Germany, raised in America from the age of 5. I’m a bit creative and crafty. I love using my hands and my vision to create things I enjoy that give me pleasure. I’m a foodie, animal’s make me happy and I’ve always enjoyed people. My Chinese star sign is “dog”, I’m very loyal but I can bite when needed.
Number of years in the wine industry
20 years but it seems like yesterday.
I had 2 jobs at the same time, I was 15 years old and I wanted a car by the time I was 16. I waited tables (made good tips in America) I was a receptionist for a real estate company after school.
If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
I’d be a wine from vines growing on a soil that gave me “age ability”. I’d hoped not be fined or filtered in order for the drinker to see the true vintage as it was. A little bit of perfume aromatics and a velvet texture in this wine would be nice too, so I guess it’s Pinot Noir.
What would you do if you wouldn’t be a viticulturist?
I’d be creating new brands, working in fashion with New Zealand wool in mind. Ideally working with great people where we could all benefit and achieve good things as I believe that is why I’m still in the wine industry.
Why did you decide to work in the wine industry?
I met my husband, our winemaker while studying fashion and working in a gourmet food and wine shop in San Francisco. Wine work allowed for travel and education. Wine has a way of stimulating thought and the imagination.
What I was exposed to throughout the wine world made me feel that there was still opportunity to be had on many levels. Viticulture, branding, marketing and management was something I respected and I was “itching” to learn more about.
Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
I like to dress up and eat out. Five courses are my favorite and starting with a dry white, usually a mineraly Chardonnay paired with oysters when freshly shucked. I love it when wine and food can offer a similarity of aromas or taste. The saltyness of a Chardonnay and the taste of the shell from the oyster is heavenly.
Share a fact about your winery that only a few know
We were recognised in the overseas market before anyone knew of us in New Zealand. The only way to achieve our overseas recognition and success was through the intention of Pyramid Valley to make our wines as “true of place” as possible. When you allow yourself to let go and be free, trust the land, the soils and the fruit you work with, you can make wine of a place and time. This isn’t about the winemaker it’s about true “terroir”.
Hidden gems and favourite spots in your region
Nape Nape beach for time out with the dogs. Waikari rock drawings are great and spiritual. Hamner hot pools for winter nights and sore backs after hard work. I love vintage wares and collectables so MummaT in Amberley and Twine in Waikuku for retail close by.
Things you still want to do
Create another vineyard site on the farm. Write a book about my life, mentor young people, hire a boat and sail somewhere warm for 6 months.
Last book read
The Personnel MBA by Josh Kaufman. I don’t normally read because I’m usually making something so when I do read it’s related to business and marketing.
Advice on buying wine
Stay away from supermarkets, we have the pleasure of liquor outlets and fine wine retailers. They are passionate people and happy to help teach you about wine for free, we need to use this resource before it’s gone and we are left wondering at the shelves.
Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
My grandmother because I never had the chance too.
* Photo at the top: Claudia is holding a box of dried flowers that they grow at Pyramid Valley & use for their Biodynamic preparations.