A native of Christchurch, and a curious wanderer of distant shores, Kirk’s talent for beautiful wines can, at least in part, be attributed to his dark decade in chartered accountancy. There, amongst the spreadsheets, columns and rows, Kirk is said to have developed the finely-tuned attention to detail he was later to apply to Sandihurst’s advantage.
It was following a culturally eye-opening period in Europe and Asia that Kirk experienced the moment of truth that was to drive him to abandon his pinstripes and retrain. He had tasted life, French pastries and dim sum and now he wanted more. So, roll up his neatly pressed sleeves he did. Enlightened and decidedly un-accountant-like, Kirk then took his new-found talents to California and Germany’s Pfalz where he refined his vinous skills and gained further invaluable experience. And a family. Finally, and after several happy years, the lure of New Zealand proved too strong to resist, and Kirk returned home and into the veritable arms of Sandihurst Winery.
Artist and alchemist, whilst Kirk’s Mr Nice Guy persona belies a dry wit and wicked laugh, his genius knows only modesty. When he declares his wine to be “okay”, it’s time to bank another medal.
View all posts by Kirk
As warm and gracious as she is graceful, former professional ballerina Celia is blessed with nerves of steel and the divine spark of adventure.
Born in England and convent-educated, Celia graduated from The Royal Ballet School to travel the globe with the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet. It was in Portugal under Companhia Nacional de Bailado that she was swept off her finely-turned feet by Afrikaner Hennie (in the Foreign Service), only to be deposited in a state of marital bliss in South Africa. No sooner had she wiped the dust from her eyes and the happy couple been delivered of first-born Nicholas, than a posting to warring Mozambique did come calling. Following the arrival of Sean (joyous) and a stint with the Women’s Diplomatic Corps (tedious), Celia returned en famille to SA. While husband and sons occupied themselves with commerce and growing up respectively, and not without her help, she invested her unlimited energies into her own personal training business. Life was good.
Eventually, however, the said finely-turned feet and Hennie’s slightly less dainty ones developed an itch that brought them all to New Zealand and to the development of the multi award-winning Sandihurst. And for which wine lovers all over the world shall be eternally grateful.
View all posts by Celia
South African born, erudite and possessed of a love of life and rapier wit derived of a ponytail-wearing free spirit and somewhat chequered past, Hennie’s career path has been anything but average.
From rather alarming compulsory military service to the bewilderment of university, Hennie entered the Foreign Service anticipating lusty hedonistic thrills. Instead he received tour upon tour of feet-grounding hair-raising duty and a true appreciation of diplomacy in adversity. Hennie’s extraordinary life experiences and education more than adequately prepared him for his future ventures in the private sector. They also draw intrigue and the collective scrape of chairs at the raw hint of a damned good story.
Since discovering the fragile and whimpering bones of a dilapidated winery in 2005, Hennie and wife Celia have cultivated an award-winning success. The Sandihurst of today is recognised with gold medals from New Zealand and all over the world. For this, Hennie credits tenacity, sheer hard work, his wife’s utter brilliance and their shared devotion to a fine drop of wine. Challenge, Hennie insists, is integral to life.
View all posts by Hennie