There is a strength of character and determination about Giesen brothers Theo, Alex and Marcel who, despite the naysayers, made the bold leap to make wine in Marlborough in 1981. Over the last 30 years they have laid deep roots in the region, developing their own vineyards and simply making wines that people want to drink and that, is all there is to it. It is this staunch approach to consistency, with their passion always driving excellence that has enabled them to become one of the region’s eminent producers.
Its not hard to remember the Giesen boys, among a plethora of brands named after bays, hills and stones, they are real. Giesen has walked to its own tried and true beat, remaining at the front of the pack. You can be assured a Giesen wine delivers on its promise. So be confident, be proud but most of all, enjoy!
Two boys with itchy feet and a penchant to travel set off from Germany and found themselves in New Zealand. Sons of a stone mason, they were planning to follow the family enterprise but on a whim, because it reminded them of home, they purchased land and planted a vineyard just outside of Christchurch. People said they were just a little bit nuts and the area was far too marginal to make wine.
But hey they’re German and really understand what cold is! Younger brother Marcel took himself to winemaking school and four years later joined Theo and Alex on the South Island to start making wine from their vineyard. They may not have followed the family trade but they certainly adopted the family business philosophy - as their father always said, if someone gives you an order, take the order! And so they set out to identify new vineyard locations and stumbled on the Wairau Valley of Marlborough. Theo says, “Only passion produces excellence"… and if their track record is anything to go by, it also creates wines which people across the world know and love.
Driven to fulfill every order they received the Giesen boys had to look for vineyards outside of their Christchurch base. Calling on their German upbringing they looked for cool-climate viticultural regions, and so turned to the top right-hand corner of New Zealand’s South Island, a little-known wine area called Marlborough. In 1993 they bought their first Marlborough property - Dillons Point Vineyard in the Wairau Valley – at that time they were still outsiders in the small New Zealand wine industry and people thought they were crazy.
Their determination to make wines people love has driven international recognition for Marlborough and its sauvignon blanc. Not content to sit back, they continue to grow Giesen.
In 2001 they moved their winery to Marlborough and it has expanded every year since. They have also grown their vineyard holdings and are foundation members of a marketing group intent on growing the region’s international profile.
Sitting in the top right-hand corner of New Zealand’s South Island, Marlborough is framed by picturesque waters and snow-capped mountains. Its highly sought-after Wairau Valley is an ancient river bed nestled between two mountain ranges and bordered to the North by Cook Strait. It’s a finite sub-region within the acclaimed Marlborough wine growing belt. The Giesen brothers own 720 acres of vineyard and continue to maintain long term supply contracts with some of the Valley’s best growers.
They have now embarked on a new path, ripping out a Sauvignon Blanc vineyard and leaving the land fallow for two vintages before replanting a wholly organic, close planted pinot noir vineyard. As is the New Zealand way, Giesen is certified in sustainable viticulture and reinvesting back into their vineyards for the future.