Meet the Maude Crew
And these are our people.
Dawn & Terry aka Nana and Pop. Generation 1 in our Wanaka winegrowing family, they had the vision, the dedication and the confidence to make it all happen. It was the early 90’s, shoulder pads, big hair and the ‘double denim’ look had just gone out. Vineyards were not aplenty in Central Otago, in fact you could count the number of vineyards on both hands and the number of wineries on 1, they were brave. Brave, but not reckless. They knew Wanaka well, they knew vineyards (as Pop grew up on his own in Hawkes Bay) and they knew to get the experts in to find the perfect patch of land to grow their vineyard and build a home. One very stylish home, if you’re given the chance to visit the Mt Maude vineyard, do so. The beautiful Mt Maude mudbrick house and surrounding gardens beneath the 4 Ha vineyard are something else. Speaking for the second and third generation, we are forever grateful that they had the guts to have a mid-life crisis in Wanaka as we’ve all followed them and now call Wanaka our home too.
Sarah-Kate is New Zealand born, bred and educated, though it was Australia or more specifically the Hunter Valley where she cut her winemaking teeth. Developing her skills on the delicate and fickle Semillon and finely structured Shiraz, once aptly named Hunter River Burgundy. She was fortunate enough to be one of the first Len Evans Scholars, going on to become a recognized wineshow judge around the country which helped hone her signature winemaking style – making wines with precision and that are site expressive. After 10 years in Australia's oldest wine region she moved home to one of New Zealand's newest and to the family vineyard, Mt Maude in Wanaka, Central Otago. In 2006, she and husband Dan, built a winery, started a family and so now she balances her love of all things wine, as a busy mum in a busy winery. A self confessed dreamer and schemer, she loves the social side of wine and wine people, devising Maude Wines social events, taking them to another level – some might say one step too far but she is never shy of finding a raft of willing participants. So be warned. She is the Energizer Bunny of New Zealand wine people and she will break you….in the nicest possible way of course.
Dan – the Devil's Advocate. With the ever-present twinkle in his eye, perhaps born from his Australian Irish descent, or landing near the bottom of a large family preceded by his many older sisters. Dan and his twinkle are surprisingly comfortable surrounded by the female numbers at Maude. With the pedigree of winemaking that underpins him, Roseworthy, Petaluma, Mount Pleasant, Brokenwood and Tower Estate, the throne feels natural. As the Devil's Advocate, Dan leads the culture at Maude, a culture where ideas are constantly challenged, set roles never apply, stereotypes don’t exist and the use of contractors, be it electricians to accountants must first be conquered or (in the very least) attempted by oneself, even if at times a contractor has to rectify the situation post Dan. Whilst Dan’s temperament isn’t known to fluctuate much, his happy place is driving in his ute, Beau the family dog by his side, an open beer in hand, marvelling at the beauty of Wanaka, this incredible place we are fortunate to be winegrowers in……..or possibly just making himself MIA from all the oestrogen at the winery.
As the older brother of Sarah-Kate he is probably the only other person in the winery and family apart from Danno who can come close to getting the upper hand in a ‘discussion’ with Sarah-Kate. He used to do it by dangling her over the toilet but now uses more mature methods like silence. Affectionately known as Willy, he has an eye for design and the hands of a craftsman. Where Dan uses tradesmen as a last resort he is happy to call on Willy's expertise. The things you do for your family! Passionate about rugby and bourbon you’ll often find him in his man-cave re-watching an All-Black test for the umpteenth time bourbon in hand, not a glass of wine in sight! Since retiring from his business of 20 years, The Mediterranean Market in Wanaka, he has joined Dawn & Terry out at Mount Maude sharing the load of all things vineyard and garden. Sarah-Kate thinks he’s the favourite child, it’s a highly contested position, but really Dawn and Terry’s favourites are the grandkids.
Sharon our Club Captain, every company should have one, if you don’t, you can’t have ours. Sharon, Shazza, Haggis and affectionately referred to on national TV as 'Sharon from Accounts'. Despite her killer Bridge moves and obvious affinity with numbers, it is her ever-present smile and infectious positivity that we treasure the most. Shazza is the boss of all things wine club – our Maude Society and Maude Cru – a logistical matrix so complex it would send most heads into a spin. And yet, often you’ll see Shazza, wine delivery in hand, at your door with that bubbly smile on her face. Attributes like these earn Shazza the title of Club Captain. Obviously this demeanor is carefully nurtured, we sometimes lose Shazza to her places of Zen be it yoga, the mountains or reading her favourite book – she loves (and needs) her escapism.
Pip – the hunter gatherer. The promise of great Pinot Noir comes from vineyards with greatness. Pinot Noir, known as the fickle mistress, requires someone fanatical to tame and optimise its potential. In Central Otago’s climate, this person must stand firm through frost, snow, howling winds and scorching dry heat. They are the legend of the Maude family. At Maude, Pip is our legend. Normally you find Pip, gazing over her baby, the Mohawk Hill Vineyard, or tramping with hubby and the kids over the Nevis Range - with a recently shot red deer on her back. But on certain weeks of the year, you’ll find her at her favourite spot overlooking the Okuru River on the West Coast in search of the elusive Inanga, New Zealand whitebait.
Nessy – The Moral Compass. If Ness wasn’t a winemaker there’s no doubt what she’d be, for someone with such a strong moral compass, it’s amazing just how ‘left of centre’ she can be. Shouldering the huge responsibility of hundreds of ferments in our medium sized Central Otago winery pretending it’s as boutique as they come. Yet she will always bring the humour to Maude. The wittiness, the impressionist, the NIDA actor never breaking character – even when her alter ego terrifies the very staff who hang on her every word. The Albert Einstein of Maude, an IQ far surpassing us all, second only to her Arborist husband on quiz night. Ness holds the title of Dux of Roseworthy Dux’s, simply not sharing any of the academic trophies awarded in her year. Not that she’d tell you but if you look closely, you can see the detail in everything she does, the thirst for asking why, full comprehension and an ability to explain – even if at times the alter ego is bought in so she can explain in layman's terms and not leave you feeling inferior.
When we heard Jack Anderson was looking to move back to New Zealand from Santa Rosa in California we jumped at the chance to bring him into the Maude Family. Jack took time off from his winemaking role to ‘check out Central Otago’ in 2016. Even though we only had him for 4 weeks at Maude, we knew he was a superstar and have tried to think up ways to bring this awesome Kiwi lad home. Jack brings with him his beautiful American wife, Megan, and gorgeous baby boy, Jasper, an incredible winemaking knowledge, palate and relaxed attitude which is a breath of fresh air. But best of all Dan has some testosterone in the winery. Jack's years of experience in New Zealand and the Northern Hemisphere mean he has slipped into his role like a glove. His cheerful, can do and willing to do anything attitude - we love! When Ness returns from maternity leave what a wine-making team we will have!
Jo – Style Council ‘Shout to the Top’, always current, forever cool, the epitome of style - ‘what a woman’ to have at the helm of all things PR, social and events + the visual side of Maude….’You’re the best thing that ever happened….’ An intrepid traveller, we are never quite sure when she’ll disappear to explore a new corner of the World. The obvious link to where her cutting edge, razor sharp eye for style emerges. Jo’s worldly wisdom also forms the solid backbone of her communication and ability to connect with people, all people. Also passionate about all things Wanaka, Jo is a great supporter of the arts, a trustee on the board of Festival of Colour - New Zealand's favourite little arts festival…..everyone would like a slice of her style.
Em, hailing from Connecticut (a Connecticuter...I’m not kidding it’s a word) with her effervescent smile and breezy demeanor she’s dynamite in the Maude Tasting Room. An educator by trade, she is sharp and instinctive and knows her stuff when it comes to wine. When she’s not meeting, greeting and educating you’ll find her traipsing into the mountains with her beau.
Ben Towner, a man with many hats (usually a beanie) , he’s a dab hand at any technical hitch in the office, he also has substantial style and flair and has ideas flowing out from his beautiful mane. A great knowledge on all things hospo he is the other half of the tasting Room dynamic duo. He is the yin to Emily’s yang. The perfect team!