Christopher Keys - Winemaker
Christopher Keys has lead Gibbston Valley’s winemaking team since 2006. His mantra has been to recognize the quality of individual sites, resulting in an impressive array of critically acclaimed Pinot Noir. His path to this position was hardly conventional: an Arts background with majors in English Literature and Russian Language preceded his Lincoln University Post Graduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology. Whilst eight years winemaking in Hawke’s Bay at Brookfields Vineyards and Sileni Estates gave a broad experience of most varieties, it was an overseas vintage at Adelsheim Vineyards in Oregon that fueled his love of Pinot Noir. From 2002-2006 he was making Pinot Noir at Sileni Estates, winning Hawke’s Bay’s first international Pinot Noir Gold Medal winning wine with the Sileni 2005 EV Pinot Noir. Further overseas experience at Rex Hill Vineyards and R. Stuart and Co in Oregon followed, before he in 2006 became Gibbston Valley’s winemaker - just their third in 25 years of wine production.
At Gibbston Valley Christopher has refined the winemaking and production to showcase the company’s incredible vineyards. Beyond its high quality Pinot Noir and Reserve Pinot Noir, Gibbston Valley now has four Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs. Christopher has found extending the range of wines both a natural and immensely rewarding process. Production has increased and consolidated at Gibbston Valley to full capacity. During this time, Christopher has had the opportunity to work vintage at Domain Dujac in Burgundy.
Christopher’s love is for wines that are elegant and transparent, that show clearly the ethos and genesis of their production. He prefers to listen to both people and place, and feels wines should reflect both with harmony and balance.
Sascha Herbert - Winemaker
Originating from Australia, Sascha developed the infectious joy of toiling amongst vineyards from her father and uncle. In her quest for the ultimate working lifestyle, Sascha threw herself into a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Oenology) from the University of Adelaide 2001-2004.
Her vast practical experience throughout Australia, New Zealand and Europe has complemented her academic grounding, including work with Weingut Hirsch, Kamptal, Austria; Fattoria Mancini, Le Marche, Italy; Haselgrove Wines, Mclaren Vale, South Australia; and Akarua Wines, Bannockburn, Central Otago.
In search of the ultimate Pinot Noir Winemaking post, Sascha’s unique talents were brought to the attention of Gibbston Valley Wines. Sascha says she is exhilarated by experiencing the daily challenges that working with winemaker Christopher Keys and the Gibbston Valley team brings.