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Great People

Alex Giesen Co-owner

Middle brother, Alex Giesen grew up in Germany eager for adventure. Once he’d finished school and saved some money, he and his older brother Theo set off for the other side of the world.

A near encounter with a snake helped Alex and Theo decide against settling in Australia and the brothers headed to New Zealand. It was the early 1980s; there was little choice of wine in the country and none of the varietals that the Giesen brothers knew from Europe. Food and wine was in the Giesen DNA – their grandfather August (Aw-goost) was a sommelier, while their maternal grandmother’s family were brewers.

Being enterprising lads Alex and Theo drew upon their family passion, deciding to stay in New Zealand and make their own wine.

It was 1981 and New Zealand didn’t have a wine culture. Alex and his brothers chose to buy land at Burnham, just out of Christchurch, as nearby Lincoln University had a research vineyard studying the wine varieties that were most suited to the country’s climate. So Alex pulled up his sleeves and with his brothers ‘just got on with the job’. He planted vineyards, tended the vines, worked in the winery, built the barrel room and sold wine at the Cellar Door and then began travelling the world to pour Giesen wine at trade shows and develop new markets.

That was more than 35 years ago. Today with brothers Theo and Marcel, Alex runs one of New Zealand’s most recognised wine companies, Giesen Wines which exports to 40 countries.

To this day, Alex and his brothers are hands on business owners working with their team daily. As he did in the early days, much of Alex’s time is spent travelling the globe meeting with customers, talking about and tasting Giesen wines and sharing his love of Marlborough and New Zealand.  He visits Europe at least twice a year to sell wine and also to holiday in Germany and France.

Alex appreciates his heritage and it is this connection which is responsible for his most recent project – the restoration of a 1957 Mercedes 180D. German made, the navy blue 1957 Mercedes 180D was the first car the three brothers purchased when they arrived in New Zealand in the 1980s. Late in 2015 after a few twists and turns Alex had the car fully restored. Now when he’s in Marlborough – spending time with the winery crew and meeting customers – he loves the opportunity to get the car out and take it for a drive.

When he’s not driving around Marlborough in his 1957 Merc or travelling the world selling wine, Alex can be found at home in Christchurch, New Zealand with his wife Lisa. They have four children, two of whom remain at home. Alex loves nothing more than entertaining with great wine and food.