Leadership in Wine #16 - Therese Herzog

  • Alexis Robin

Therese and her husband Hans established Hans Herzog Estate in 1994 in Marlborough. They bought a precious plot of land which had originally been an apple orchard. Hans planted the vines in 1996 and the winery followed in 1998 for the first vintage. 

Therese opened "Herzog's Restaurant" in March 2000 - creating the same resounding success of her Michelin starred Swiss restaurant that she owned prior settling in New Zealand. The Restaurant provide a platform for giving others the chance to experience Herzog wines, the way there were intended. Following the success of the Gourmet Restaurant, a Cellar Door, Bistro and Vineyard Cottage now complete the wine and food experience.

Therese has 40 years of experience in wine and hospitality both in Europe and in New Zealand.


How do you define leadership?

Google states: “A simple definition is that leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal... He or she is the person in the group that possesses the combination of personality and leadership skills that makes others want to follow his or her direction.”

Only recently I hosted a group of OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine, Paris) students for a tour, tasting and sharing our wine story. I ‘used’ my leadership qualities to motivate this group to follow the path of wine not only from a commercial interest but to truly share the love for wine. I appealed to them to think what they wanted to achieve and to never let go of their dreams.

That the road to success takes many detours but determination and passion together with skills and experience are valuable assets to guide you to the destination. Leadership for me means to share one’s own skills and experience and to be able to inspire and motivate young people to follow a chosen path.


What are the main challenges of being a leader in the wine industry today?

People. To be successful in the wine industry (and any other industry for that) means to have motivated and skilled people to follow your vision.


What are your major breakthroughs in your career to become the leader you are now?

Determination, vision, passion and hard work eventually bring breakthroughs. Trusting my partner that he will produce the best wines possible and investing everything in our joint dream. Establishing a wine estate in Switzerland. Selling the first vintage. Taking the risk to do it all over again in New Zealand. Becoming a trusted name for high quality artisan wine. The satisfaction of a dream achieved.


If you were starting your career in 2019 in the wine industry, what advice would you give to yourself to become successful and content?

Exactly the same: Determination, vision, passion and hard work will eventually bring success and contentment.


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