Aotea Methode Traditionnelle NV – Anna Seifried

“Winning the title of ‘WineWorks Champion Sparkling Wine’ at New Zealand’s most prestigious wine competition for the Aotea by the Seifried Family Méthode Traditionnelle NV is an exceptional feat in its own right. But for this Nelson winery, gaining such recognition with their first endeavour at a traditional style bubbly is cause for celebration. In 2010 winemaker Chris Seifried and his new bride, Susan spent four weeks in Epernay, in the heart of Champagne where they worked with Seifried family friends at Chateau Bauget-Jouette. It was an opportunity for Chris to see and learn everything he could about making Champagne, a style he had always enjoyed but never ventured to learn.

Inspired to make his own Nelson style of Méthode Traditionnelle, Chris and Susan returned to New Zealand in time for harvest 2011, and along with his father Hermann, and sister Heidi, they identified two of the family’s own vineyards that he felt would offer the fruit characters he was after. In early March 2011, the hand-selected fruit was harvested from the family’s Brightwater and ‘Cornfield’ Vineyards, both on the Waimea Plains. Made using 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, the stony, free-draining soils produced bright, exuberant fruit. Chris credits Hermann and his vineyard team for bringing in fruit that he could work with, “the challenge for the vineyard crew was to ensure full flavoured fruit, with all the character and texture, but without excessively high sugar levels”.

Made using traditional winemaking methods, and four years bottle ageing prior to disgorging, the wine has smooth biscuity notes and a delicate dry finish. Chris says that crafting a traditional style bubbly had its challenges. ‘The aim was to produce bright flavoursome fruit, but the trick when it comes to bubbly really is the bead – and getting a balance of a fine bead, with a rich dry doughiness.’

The Aotea by the Seifried Méthode Traditionnelle NV was released in late 2016, in time for the family’s 40 years of winemaking celebration roadshow, which took place in Dublin, London and Nelson last November. A celebration where Chris acknowledged his parents work as pioneering modern winemaking in New Zealand’s South Island. “With this wine, we celebrate Mum and Dad’s vision, and the arrival of the next generation, our children, who are growing up in the vineyard and winery. We hope that they too will share the passion for crafting great wines.”

Chris’s eldest child Amelia, was born just six weeks after the grapes for the Méthode Traditionnelle were harvested, and just 15 hours after Heidi Seifried-Houghton, Chris’s sister (who is also a winemaker in the family business) gave birth to her first child, Josef. Now recognised as Seifried’s most fruitful harvest ever, the 2011 vintage not only produced the first grandchildren, but also the grapes for this champion sparkling wine.”

Spanish Festive Wines, November 2017

Wayne reports, Olé indeed. From arriving to Spanish music to being seated in a horseshoe and enjoying some tapas with the wines, this was truly a night with a difference.

The meet and greet wine was the very affordable Torres Sangre de Toro Rosado 2016. I’ve always liked this wine because of the red bull that hangs from the neck of each bottle. But the contents weren’t bad either with the Rose being a bright raspberry colour with good fruit flavour. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to try a Rose that was made from grapes we don’t find here in NZ, namely Carnena and Garnacha (known respectively as Carignan and Grenache in other parts of the world).

The first tasting wine was a delightful white sherry, Lustau Puerto Fino.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve tasted this light dry sherry that is famous around the world, so I particularly loved the match with the Crumbed Olive tapas that showed the versatility of this wine when matched with salty briny foods. And Keith’s comments about Sherry’s famous solera system added to our appreciation of this wonderful wine style which seems to have fallen out of favour here in NZ.

Next to follow were the Vina Esmeralda Moscatel-Gewurztraminer 2016 and the 2013 Gran Vina Sol Chardonnay.  The first was matched with a delicious Serrano ham and honeydew melon tapas which matched perfectly the wonderful floral aromas of the 85% dominant Moscatel grape.  The Chardonnay was a nice addition to the whites being tasted.  It was fermented in stainless steel with a third of the wine fermented and aged for 5 months in new oak.

I enjoyed the freshness of this wine and its lingering aftertaste, and given the tasting notes suggest that this is excellent with fish, paella and turkey, it’s hardly surprising that the match on the night with the warm Spanish shrimp dish was excellent.

The year in retrospec

Our year

It is usual at this time to review our year. As ever we began with our summer BBQ at the end of January. The usual excellent occasion and thanks to Derek for making his premises available. It is an excellent facility. Our first tasting was the Rosė tasting presented by Will Brunel-Morven from Maison Vauron. Rosės are becoming increasingly popular, particularly as a summer wine.March was the time for Ata Rangi and was followed in April by our Quiz Night. An enjoyable and fun occasion. As usual, May was AGM time, June highlighted Giesen’s Wines and July was dinner at Bistro 52. August had us enjoying Seifried’s offerings and then in September the interesting and unique Aged Wines tasting. October was Stonecroft and last month was the festive tasting of Spanish wines. A great programme which will be nicely rounded off by our December Dinner.

Spanish tasting

It is interesting to note that EuroVintage had great orders from the Spanish tasting, and were blown away by the response. Well done everyone.

Robin Semmens, Editor

December Dinner, Cashmere Lounge

Wednesday 13 December 2017, 7.00pm start for 7.30pm sit down

By now you will studied the menu and indicated to Wayne with regard to your dinner choices.  There really isn’t much more to say.  Looks like a great turnout and we are looking forward to the event.  Unfortunately, or from our point of view perhaps, fortunately, we have the maximum number committing to attend and we are unable to accept any last minute requests to attend if people’s circumstances have changed.  For those who are coming can we please ask you not to arrive before seven.  Your committee will generally be arriving from work and will have some arrangements to sortWe would appreciate a bit of time to get things set up and members could help us by turning up from 7 pm, not earlier.

Wine for the December Xmas Dinner

2017 has been good for the club with great support from our presenters regarding the costs of their presentations etc. So for the December Dinner, we have decided to return the favour by purchasing some bubbles that are a little more expensive than normal. The wine we have chosen for you to enjoy won Gold at this year’s Air NZ wine awards and then went on to receive the Trophy for the best Sparkling White on show. So when you arrive at the dinner venue, you will receive a glass of chilled Aotea, a non-vintage Methode Traditionnelle sparkling wine from the Seifried family in Nelson,

There is an interesting backstory to this wine and we have included a quote from Anna Seifried.  Anna is understandably stoked with this win.  Enjoy the evening and the wine treat.

Hawke’s Bay Wine – Summer Issue

Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers presents your digital issue of Hawke’s Bay Wine – Summer Issue.

  • Chairman’s Report 2017
  • Under-vine reflector panels
  • The cirtical powdery mildew window

In every issue we profile Hawke’s Bay Wine companies and personalities, wine from our region and associated sectors. We offer up a number of informed viewpoints, cover the news and present a range of wine-related feature stories.

Do you have news relating to Hawke’s Bay Wine Sector?

Advertising enquiries can be directed to Kite Communications

Wine for Xmas Dinner


TROPHY: “Champion Sparkling Wine”, Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2017, NZ
GOLD: Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2017, NZ


Variety: 50% Pinot Noir / 50% Chardonnay
Vineyard: Seifried Cornfield and Brightwater Vineyards
Sugar at Harvest: 19.4°Brix
Date of Harvest: Early March 2011
Disgorgement Date: September 2016
T.A of Wine: 5.8g/L
Residual Sugar: 1g/L (Brut)
Alc.: 12.5% vol.
Suitable for Vegetarians: Yes


In 1971 my father Hermann Seifried arrived in New Zealand with a dream of making great wines. He and my mother Agnes pioneered modern winemaking in the Nelson region, planting the first vines and in 1976 producing their first wines. Now, 40 years later we celebrate their vision and the arrival of the next generation, our children, who are growing up in the vineyard and winery. We hope that they too will share the passion for crafting fine wines.

Our Aotea Méthode Traditionnelle is a very special wine. Two parcels of fruit were hand picked at ideal ripeness for this classical Méthode Traditionnelle Cuvée. The Pinot Noir is from our Brightwater Vineyard while the Chardonnay comes from our Cornfield Vineyard. The blend is 50/50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The grapes were hand harvested during the cool early hours of the day and brought to the winery quickly for processing. The free-run juice from the press was cold settled overnight before being racked, warmed and inoculated. A smooth ferment progressed to dryness, followed by malolactic fermentation. The young wine was then prepared for bottle fermentation and aged on lees for an extended period. In 2016 the wine was finished and released to celebrate our 40th vintage at Seifried’s.
Chris Seifried.


The Cornfield Vineyard is situated on a wide river flat. The soil is gravelly sandy loam, which marks the sites of Maori kumara beds (sweet potato) prior to European settlement in the early 1800’s. The Maori transferred and spread fine gravel and sand over the land to provide suitable soils for their kumara pla

Recipies from Nov spanish tasting

Spanish Prawns

1kg bag of prawn tails
3 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 cup chopped parsley

Spice Mix

3 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked garlic salt
½ tsp sugar

Cook the garlic in the oil, add the prawns and cook until just pink. Toss in the spice mix and most of the parsley. Season, and sprinkle with the rest of the parsley.

California Fires and Wine – Chris Morris

As the California wildfires raged, with Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties being the hardest hit, the focus of authorities rightfully remained on rescuing people trapped in or near the inferno and attempting to control the fire. But the impact on California’s Wine Country continues to grow, with several wineries damaged or destroyed.   That won’t have an immediate impact on wine lovers, but it could dramatically affect the supply and even the taste of Napa and Sonoma wines for years to come.  Alex Andrawes, a wine broker in Texas and owner of has extensive contacts in Napa. One of his friends “said he could hear the wine boiling in the barrels before the roof fell in.”

Fires burning in California - Oct 12 20
Fires burning in California – Oct 12 2017

The lasting impact of the Napa fires could affect all wines coming from California, whether they’re caught in the fires or not. “The smoke taint thing will be global — both valleys,” he says. “No pockets spared, I fear.”  With the first wildfire still burning, the list of wineries that suffered damage may increase.

Authorities haven’t yet put together a complete list of wineries burned by the wildfires. Napa Valley Vintners, which has heard from 160 member wineries, says at least five of its members have reported total or very significant losses, with 11 more reporting some damage to their winery or vineyards. Several members have not yet been able to access their properties to assess the damage. The group is still not naming which wineries have been impacted yet and says it’s too early to estimate the economic impact of the fires on Napa’s wine industry.   Here’s where Northern California’s wineries stood in the later stages of the fires:

Napa County wineries

  • Signorello Vineyard cellar door destroyed by California fires, Oct 2017
    Signorello Vineyard cellar door destroyed by California fires, Oct 2017

    Signorello Vineyard – While the winery itself was completely destroyed by flames, early indications are that the vineyard might have survived. That’s potentially good news since replanted vines take several years to mature.

  • Stags’ Leap Winery – While the fires certainly impacted the winery, the extent of the damage is still unknown at this time.
  • White Rock Vineyards – One of Napa’s oldest wineries (founded in 1870), White Rock initially said all employees were safe and it planned to assess damage on Oct 10th. Unfortunately, it later confirmed the winery was a total loss. The state of the vineyard is unknown.
  • William Hill Estate Winery – Footage of the winery’s sign burning that went viral, it turns out the damage to the actual winery is mostly cosmetic. Officials say vineyard damage was minimal.
  • Darioush – The Stag’s Leap District winery suffered some landscape and vineyard damage, but said the winery structure was sound, despite some reports that were more dire.
  • Hagafen Cellars – While the winery building and tasting room survived, the crush pad at the back of the winery was burned and all agricultural equipment and 1 acre of the winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard was burned.  “What this all will mean for vintage 2017 is yet to be determined. Much of our wine is already inside and resting in barrels. As for vintage 2018, I am reasonably certain that we will continue, repair the damage, replace the equipment needed, etc.,” the winery said.
  • Helena View Johnston Vineyards – The Mercury News spoke with the owner’s brother, who told them “all is lost” at the organic winery.
  • Segassia Vineyard – The Patrick Road fire damaged this Atlas Peak winery. The extent of the damage however, is still being determined.
  • VinRoc – This small-batch family winery, which makes no more than 1,000 cases per year, reportedly suffered a “total loss”. Proprietor and winemaker Michael Parmenter told local media “everything gone except our (wine) cave.”

Sonoma County Wineries

  • Paradise Ridge Winery sits destroyed in the foothills above Santa Rosa, California
    Paradise Ridge Winery sits destroyed in the foothills above Santa Rosa, California, in the wake of the Tubbs Fire, Monday evening, Oct. 9, 2017. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

    Paradise Ridge Winery – The winery reported a total loss. In a Wednesday morning post, though, it said all employees were safe and vowed to rebuild.

  • Ancient Oak Cellars – This Russian River Valley winery suffered heavy damages, with the tasting counter, two onsite redwood barns and the owner’s house being destroyed, the company said. There was some good news the next day, though, as the owners informed “although we have not been allowed on the property yet, we were able to look from afar and we *believe* that our vines may have been spared. It’s too early to know for sure, but we see green, and not all scorched black as we feared.”
  • Sky Vineyards – There’s reportedly some fire damage here, but the facility is still standing. As of now, though, the extent of the damage is unknown.
  • Nicholson Ranch – There’s some damage here, but the winery said on its Facebook page that the wine was secure in its cellars. ” We have some damage to fix,” it said. ” We are cleaning up and hoping to have the power back on this [week].”
  • Chateau St. Jean – Despite reports it had burned to the ground, this Kenwood winery’s main structure is still standing and appears unharmed. Damage to outer buildings and the vineyard is still being assessed.

Mayo Family Wineries

  • Gundlach Bundschu Winery fires burn in the background, Oct 2017
    Gundlach Bundschu Winery fires burn in the background, Oct 2017

    Gundlach Bundschu Winery – According to reports on Twitter, the property suffered some fire damage, but said its winery and structure were still intact. The family home on the property, however, was lost.

Mendocino County Wineries

  • Frey Vineyards Winery – Alison de Grassi of Visit Mendocino told the Mercury News that the winery, which focuses on organic and biodynamic wines, was destroyed by the fires.
  • Oster Wine Cellars – Visit Medocino’s deGrassi also listed Oster, another Redwood Valley staple, as a total loss.
  • Golden Vineyards – The vineyards at this Hopland winery are “scorched but they are not ruined,” according to owner Julie Golden (via the Mercury News).


Christmas Dinner – Cashmere Lounge, Khandallah – December 2017

You have to head to the suburbs to try one of Wellingtons best new restaurant/wine bars. Set in an 85 year old brick building, Cashmere Lounge has done a wonderful job of capturing the character and enhancing the aesthetics of the original structure.

A delicious menu and excellent service provide a wonderful and relaxed dining experience. The menu focuses on locally sourced produce with European and Kiwi flavours, expertly crafted by Head Chef, Vincent Good. We are working on the final details of an exciting menu and dining experience for members. Put 13 December into your scheduler now.

Stonecroft – October 2017

Andria Monin presented for Stonecroft at this tasting.  We pointed out at the time that Stonecroft donated the wines including quaffers and the main raffle prize. I have thanked Andria for presenting at the meeting, and in turn, she thanked the club for inviting her.  She had an enjoyable meeting and was happy with the orders received.  It was an interesting meeting, with a good flow telling the winery story since her last visit. The wines tasted included;  2017 Rose as a Quaffer; 2016 Viognier;  2016 Chardonnay; 2015 Serine Syrah;  2014 Ruhanui;  2014 Cabernet Sauvignon;  2016 Late Harvest Gewürztraminer.  The Viognier was particularly popular for those ordering.

Grandchildren, California fires

Grandchildren are a blessing

Robin, Pat and grandkids.

Hi to all. Having grandchildren in Sydney is a blessing, but it can be frustrating when I have to miss yet another great night with the Cellar Club. Sorry that I cannot join you for what is going to be a very enjoyable festive tasting. I am looking forward to hearing how it all goes.



California fires

Paradise Ridge Winery sits destroyed in the foothills above Santa Rosa, California, in the wake of the Tubbs Fire, Monday evening, Oct. 9, 2017. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

Note the report in “In the News” about the recent fires in California, provided by Evelyn Dawson who was in the region earlier in the year. It would seem that the area will take some time to recover from the effects of these devastating fires. We wish them luck and success in the recovery process.

Robin Semmens, Editor