In 1966, Michael Seresin, a New Zealand native, moved to Italy at the age of 22 to pursue a career in film, and in the process he fell in love with the European food and wine culture. By the time he was 25, he had established himself as one of the world's foremost cinematographers, and today his resume includes over 40 feature films amd hundreds of commercials. His movie credits include Midnight Express, Angela's Ashes,The Life of David Gale and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban..
Back in 1992, determined to have his own winery, he stopped filming long enough to buy 167 acres of land in Marlborough and started seriously exploring his passion for wines. Inspired by his first glass of Cloudy Bay, he hired Brian Bicknell, Chief Winemaker at Vina Errazuriz in the Aconcagua Valley, Chile and they began planting Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling.
It's important to Michael that all three vineyards are managed and certified organic under BioGro certification ( New Zealand's leading organic certification agency) and the estate is also biodynamically certified under the international Demeter system. As Michael commented to Wine Spectator in 2006.. "Some of the best vineyards in Burgundy are doing it. It has nothing to do with sales or marketing.. in essence it's traditional agriculture."
This philosophy - to work traditionally with natural elements - is embodied in the subtle handprint which is Seresin's logo and which is found on the sentinel stone at the entrance to Seresin's home vineyard. The philosophy is evident in their commitment to careful hand-tending, and hand-harvesting and sorting. It also is represented in their efforts to work with natural elements such as wild yeasts to elicit a true Marlborough character in their wines with minimal wine-maker intervention in order to allow the layers of flavour to evolve, so the wines are a natural expression of the soil from which they come.
All the grapes are hand-sorted before being whole-bunch pressed. Portions of the grapes are then naturally fermented using indigenous yeasts to give greater interest to the resulting wine. Out in the field, there are cow pat pits for batching up biodynamic preparations. Along with the manure, ingredients include valerian, nettle, chamomile, dandelion and oak bark.
Michael Seresin himself has a busy international filming schedule and is responsible for the vision and winemaking principles of Seresin Estate. He has assembled a tightly knit team of dedicated professionals including winemaker Clive Dougall , a British expat and formerly assistant winemaker at Pegasus Bay, estate manager Colin Ross who had led Seresin's transition to biodynamics, assistant winemaker Richard Gabrielson ( formerly a sommelier in Sweden) and Wendy Tilman who has the title Biodynamic Viticulture Practitioner.