Hand It Over

By Joelle Thomson

Hand It Over

The signature hand print of Seresin Estate in Marlborough marks its maker’s ambition – to create truly handmade wines.

But it has taken 12 years, a large sum of money and thousands of olive trees to bring this feature to you.

Luckily, the olive trees are now bearing fruit because had they succumbed to a disease picked up in quarantine on their way from Tuscany to Marlborough, this story wouldn’t exist.

The trees, and the grapes they surround, are the dream of winery owner, wine lover and cinematographer, Michael Seresin. He’s a stubborn kind of bloke, which accounts for his tenacity in getting the blighted trees to grow in the first place.

The Kiwi born-and-bred filmmaker left New Zealand aged 18 for Rome, where he promptly fell for nearly all things Italian. Skip a few decades and you’ll now find him in London, but he still has a little slice of his life in Italy every year and has a love-hate relationship with his home country. But 12 years ago he decided to cement his relationship with New Zealand with olives and wine. It’s been a sort of fantasy replanting of his vinous affair from one part of the world to another.

The backdrop to his Marlborough life trickles out from vineyards on the Wairau Plains to the ridiculously serene, beautifully calm Waterfall Bay in the Marlborough Sounds. Here, his house, tasting room and hillside (progressively replanted with native trees) mold into 
the beautiful landscape.

Back on the flat plains, his winery landscape has changed dramatically from the early, experimental days of trialling unusual grape varieties to today’s more traditional grapes. That’s traditional in the sense that the winery focuses mainly on sauvignon blanc and pinot noir, like most in Marlborough. Otherwise, there is little to nothing “mainstream” about Seresin Estate. It’s biodynamic. Its sauvignon blancs are outside the norm. Its Sun and Moon, Raupo and Rachel pinot noirs push pinot to new heights. And then there’s the deliciously bizarre trio of chardonnay, pinot gris and riesling – all blended together to voluptuous, amazing and surprising success in a wine called Chiaroscuro (meaning light to dark). It’s sold in a few restaurants and at the winery – and it’s worth being tenacious to find.


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