Written by Victoria Clark
As a child, one of Anna Seifried’s regular evening chores involved a bottle of wine and a sock.
Setting the dinner table was a favourite task for the Seifried children; Anna and her older siblings, Heidi and Chris. They’d take turns to choose a wine, slip the bottle into a sock and set it on the table.
“We didn’t drink it, but we’d get a little splash; just enough to put to our lips to taste. Then our parents would ask us questions,” Anna remembers. “Dad would throw words at us, ask if we could taste passionfruit or oak; was it peppery or fruity. As we got older, they’d ask things like ‘what region do you think that wine comes from?’ or ‘is it an aged wine or a young wine?’ For as long as I can remember, we did those blind-tastings.”
Anna’s parents, Hermann and Agnes Seifried, were teaching their children about wine. As it is with families in Europe, says Anna, it was “just what we knew.”
She fondly remembers weekend days, cycling between the vine rows and being alongside her mother, pouring wine for tastings as soon as she was tall enough. “Goodness knows if that was even legal!”
In 2003, while Anna was working in the wine industry in Australia and still planning her ‘Big O.E’ in Europe, her father called her to say: “We need to employ someone to help Mum in the sales team.”
A homesick Anna was back in Nelson 10 days later.
I spent six weeks getting in amongst it in the winery for harvest, then six months alongside my mother in the sales office, listening and learning.”
By August that year, Anna was overseeing Seifried Vineyard’s seven sales staff around New Zealand, and sales throughout Asia.
The Seifrieds gather around the dining table for a Board meeting each Sunday evening, planning the week ahead for the five of them and sharing a meal.
“I love being home in Nelson – I love the food here, the people, the outdoors. I also love that we’re a second-generation winery now. I think people appreciate Seifrieds is a family business. They know, when I am talking about our wine, I’m not just repeating something I have read. Each of us is involved, which is quite unusual nowadays.”