Behind every successful man, there is a strong, wise and hardworking woman. And in Hans Herzog’s case that woman is his life and business partner Therese Herzog.
Hans or “Schatzi” as Therese lovingly calls him, is – with more than 40 vintages under his belt – the highly experienced yet humble and quiet maker of their wines, or as he likes to call himself “the gardener” – while Therese is the bubbly and highly efficient business engine and hostess that not only keeps the wheels turning but also creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere at the Estate.
If you meet the two you can quickly see that they’re a great team – very passionate, hardworking and hands-on. A perfect pair!
Originally from Switzerland the couple set-up Hans Herzog Estate, one of New Zealand’s most treasured and artisan wineries, in beautiful Marlborough 20 years ago.
A truly boutique operation with only 11.5ha of organic certified vineyard, extremely low yields and an eclectic array of 29 grape varieties including Saperavi and Nebbiolo, certainly sets them apart from other producers in New Zealand’s flagship winegrowing region.
Add a gourmet restaurant & bistro, charming guest accommodation and perfectly manicured grounds and you can see why Hans Herzog Estate is one of the top rated wineries on Trip Advisor in Marlborough, offering a unique New Zealand wine experience.
So let’s find out more about that”wonder-woman” behind or better, at Hans’ side. I caught up with Therese recently at their Auckland tasting event to find out more about her role, life in Marlborough and their Estate.
Hi Therese, thanks a lot for your time…
What does a typical working day look like for you?
Having my office at home I tend to work 24/7…
The morning starts with the unparalleled luxury to wake up without the sound of an alarm clock. Whilst Hans is on barista duties I step out for a few minutes (you can’t really call it a walk) into the vineyard in my sweat pant and shirt for our Rhodesian Ridgeback Samira to do her morning business. Indulging in coffee and leisurely breakfast at our kitchen counter we discuss the working day and priorities.
It’s also where I start working on my iPad reading emails. It’s kind of the same ritual from the bygone era when we would empty the letterbox, open the mail and read it… I am often so immersed in emails that I don’t even release that Hans is gone leaving me to it.
Yet, there is always something I can’t answer for which I have to stomp up the chairs to my office which is just above this kitchen counter, a mezzanine floor with beautiful views over our vineyard. Continue working there and not realising the passing time, still being in dressed in my finery – the track pants a few hours later.
At around 1pm Hans comes in from the vineyard and we prepare lunch. Another ritual we both kept through our lives. Ingrained from our childhood where the whole family met for a proper sit down lunch, sometimes with a glass of wine…
Catching up with the team is mostly after lunch, making sure the estate including hospitality, cellar door and office runs smoothly or trouble shooting otherwise. I any case, the afternoon is never long enough to get a days work done and more often than not I continue after dinner…
When and why did you fall in love with wine?
21 July 1979 – fell in love with a winemaker.
When and why did you come to New Zealand?
We established our Marlborough Estate in 1994 and immigrated in 2000 to exchange our Swiss Wine Estate life with the one in New Zealand. Solely for the love of wine. Because Hans could grow so much more amazing wines in our Marlborough vineyard.
If you were a wine, which one would you be?
Voluptuous like a Montepulciano ;-)
What’s your go-to wine at the moment? Which wine are you saving for a special occasion?
I embrace dry, high quality wines and love to explore wines from different grape varieties. We have quite a big private wine cellar and don’t need a special occasion to open something special just to celebrate life. I do have a weakness for old world style Bordeaux blends…
Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
Hans’ divine seafood Risotto with his heavenly Mistral. The combination of the exotic Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne with the strong flavours of the Risotto is truly a match made in heaven!
Share a fact about yourself that only a few know
Being bubbly, vivacious and loving people you would think I am a socialite. Maybe it is because of my role to host many visitors from the wine, tourism or food industry, on top of running a Gourmet Restaurant and Bistro which is hosting as well, that I appreciate being alone. Reading a book with my knees up surrounded by my animals is the true luxury for me.
Hidden gems and favourite spots in Marlborough
- The banks of the Wairau River which borders our vineyard and where I walk Samira every day – bliss.
- The Richmond Ranges and other fascinating areas off the beaten track where we spend our first years hiking, tramping and sleeping in DOC huts to discover some of New Zealand’s most beautiful, untouched and rugged areas.
- Enjoying a meal in our own gems – the Gourmet Restaurant or the Bistro surrounded by beautiful Mediterranean gardens. To indulge in great food by our amazing chefs with a bottle of fine wine in the company of friends – c’est la vie!
Things you still want to do – what’s on your bucket list?
Time – to enjoy all the wonderful things and travels we already do but at a more leisurely pace.
Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
With all the great people who touched my life.