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Brotherly love: Theo, Alex and Marcel in their cellar among Fuder barrels.

Brotherly love: Theo, Alex and Marcel in their cellar among Fuder barrels.

WHEN Theo, Alex and Marcel Giesen moved to New Zealand they made sure their German heritage remained a big part of their lives. Stephanie Timotheou spoke to the three wine men (pun intended) and heard about how the old country inspired the latest range from Giesen Wines.

Whoever made the claim of “out with the old and in with the new” was kidding themselves.

And they certainly weren’t involved in the New Zealand wine industry.

Theo, Alex and Marcel Giesen, who purchased their first Marlborough vineyard in 1981, have gone back to their roots (and back to basics) to create an historical new wine range out of German Fuder barrels.

The trio behind Giesen Wines was born in Germany and moved to New Zealand to kick start their career in viticulture and winemaking.

Their latest Fuder range, comprising two styles of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, takes its name from the 1000-litre German oak barrels in which the wines are aged.

The company now has 26 Fuders, with another 30 delivered in time for the 2014 vintage.

Historically the barrel was used to age Mosel wines produced in the cooler climes along the Moselle River, one of the Rhine’s tributaries which flows through France, Luxembourg and Germany.

Marcel, the youngest of the brothers, was 18 when he left Germany to join his brothers who had relocated to the Land of the Long White Cloud two years before him.

He said the opportunity to set up a business when the local wine industry was miniscule offered a great challenge, especially when the family business was in stone masonry – far from the big wide world of wine.

“The landscape of New Zealand was also a major draw card as all three of us were keen on the great outdoors and now whenever we have the chance, we love nothing more than exploring more of the country’s wonderful views,” Marcel added.

As youngsters in Germany (and while technology was non-existent) they gained an interest in the wine industry and had a small “hobby vineyard” where grapes were grown for fun.

“We drew a great deal of inspiration from our grandfather August, who was a sommelier and restaurateur in Germany,” Marcel said.

Full story in the May 2014 issue of Grapegrower & Winemaker.