Owner and Christine Kernohan has had her right hand winemaking man Gerhard Smith of seven years head back home to South Africa, to be replaced by Alexis Moore (nee Goodman), assistant winemaker at Seresin Estate for the last five years. Alexis joins the team which recently added Laura Saba in the marketing and sales role at Gladstone Vineyard. Laura has a strong background in hospitality and wine, and is involved in the wine judging circuit, and is clearly a welcome addition to the crew, which also has the very experienced and efficient Catherine Hannagan in the administration role. All my dealings with these people have been first-rate, and I consider them the ‘Go-To Girls’ at Gladstone Vineyard.
I met Alexis a few years ago at a special benchmarking tasting for Seresin Estate held at Waterfall Bay. Alexis was standing in for winemaker Clive Dougall, who was away for the birth of his first child, and Alexis conducted one of the most memorable such tastings I have been to. Recently married to Kevin Moore, also formerly at Seresin Estate in a viticultural role, Alexis brings with her a wealth of experience in sustainability and biodynamics, which ties in especially well with the biological viticulture regimes that Kyle Mason has instituted at Gladstone Vineyard. It will be very interesting to see where the grapegrowing and winemaking goes from here!
Last year, Christine and David Kernohan invited expressions of interest for Gladstone Vineyard as part of their consideration of the succession of the business. Succession is a major issue for the New Zealand wine industry, where most winegrowing and winemaking operations are not family affairs which are handed over to the next generation as they are in Europe. Christine and David talked about the various options, ranging from extra investment and partnership in the business, to a sale of it as a total concern sometime in the future. It’s an honest and up-front approach which is to be highly commended.