Their descendant, Hans, liked to push the boundaries and challenging the way things were done.
In the 80s, rebelling against the restricting Swiss wine law he successfully plants unauthorized white varietals such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to his Pinot Noir, instead of the uninspiring Muller Thurgau.
The government liberalised the planting restriction on grape varieties, but the challenging Swiss climate remained and so did Hans’ dream to find the perfect terroir to make truly outstanding wines able to stand amongst the world’s best.
In 1994, in pursuit of his dream, Hans identified a piece of land a long way from home in Marlborough, one of the sunniest and driest climates in New Zealand.
This land had originally been an apple orchard and Hans planted his vines in 1996 with our first vintage in 1998.
The arid sandy and gravelly soils on the right bank of the Wairau River reminded him of the Médoc region in Bordeaux with its late-ripening Cabernet, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc.
This river creates a special microclimate and the free-draining soils make it one of the warmest and most valuable blocks in Marlborough.
The exceptional sunshine hours, lengthy dry and mild autumns together with Hans’ rigorous vineyard management and extremely low yields allow even late-ripening varieties to achieve perfect physiological ripeness.
The significant diurnal temperature range with cool nights, typically more than 10ºC cooler than the sunny days, preserve the natural acidity in the grapes and give rise to the extraordinarily intense varietal character.
The vibrant succulent ripe fruit flavours making it not only one of the world’s best wine regions but providing all the elements to continue Hans’ tradition of leading the way with new grape varieties.
Once again, Herzog Estate became one of the foremost artisan wineries producing a variety of handcrafted wines exported to the finest restaurants around the world.