Team Chard

Rob Hay – Director and Winemaker

A keen mountain biker and failed motocross rider – Rob is the founder and proprietor of Chard Farm, along with wife Gerdi.  Rob and partner Gerdi have twin boys Joachim and Nico, and daughter Romy. Rob is involved with the Wakatipu Trails Trust, helping design cycling and walking trails around Queenstown and Southern Lakes District. He has done multi stage mountain bike races in South Africa and Canada and helped develop the annual Tour de Wakatipu mountain bike race which finishes at Chard Farm. Rob is busy most days trying to keep the wheels on the Chard Farm machine and the bank manager at bay. Contact:

Gerdi Schumann – Director and Office Manager

The other half of the Leadership duo and also a keen mountain biker with 7 Motatapu events to her credit! Gerdi planted the very first vines on Chard Farm in 1987 and has been instrumental in the development of Chard Farm ever since. She is famous in these parts for her great cooking skills and has warmed many a winemakers stomach on a cold autumn night mid vintage with her Beef Wellington or Stroganoff creations. She runs the office at Chard Farm with an iron fist and is also part time office manager at the local preschool, imparting some good German financial discipline and rectitude! Contact:

John Wallace – Chief Winemaker

John is a retired Ski instructor, keen brewer, dedicated foodie and another mountain biker. He has been with us forever, initially employed as a vineyard hand and cellar rat in 1997. He took over the reigns of chief winemaker at Chard Farm in 2002 and has done several Northern hemisphere vintages in Oregon and California. John and wife Jo have a son – Hugo and daughter – Isobel. John is famous for his dry sense of humour and very tasty beers, the latest being an IPA-Indian Pale Ale. As the saying goes - it takes a lot of beer to make great wine! He also makes a wicked Central Otago gin – created using the traditional triple distilled London dry gin technique, and using Central Otago botanicals. Contact:

Matt Groves - Sales Manager

Matt fancies himself as a top golfer, ace ice hockey player and gun skier – we hear about his exploits everyday at smoko! He is, in reality, none of those but has however been doing a great job marketing and selling Chard Farm wines to NZ and the world. Matt has been with us since 1999. With wife Marti, they have two young boys Ben and William - this new found fatherhood has tempered his golfing, skiing and ice hockey pursuits. Contact:

Jan Forward – Office and Administration

The only true local amongst us – a real southern gal! Jan’s father ran the Royal Oak Hotel in Arrowtown for many years. We aren’t sure who has the more iron fist in the office – her or Gerdi but all we know is that it’s a well oiled (and sometimes scary!) machine in there these days . Jan and husband Murray have two children – Clay and Eilish.


Mitch Backhouse - Cellar Door Manager

Mitch is very passionate about her wines and is also one of the stalwarts of the local Basketball scene. Mitch and partner Guido are long time residents in the Queenstown area and both have been heavily involved in the Queenstown Adventure Tourism Industry, with Mitch being a legend in Queenstown rafting circles!  Mitch and Guido have a son, Rees and they are also the adopted parents of Dale, our sometimes resident cellar door goat!   If you are visiting our Cellar Door, just don’t mention Dale to our gardener.

Tim Richards - Winemaking Assistant

Tim is a Kiwi from Blenheim who has come to us after winemaking stints in Marlborough, Portugal and Australia. He’s relishing the chance to be involved with high end Pinot Noir and is already proving to be a very capable and passionate member of our team.


Hamish Hay BW3Hamish Hay - Vineyard Manager

Hamish has been involved in the Central Otago wine industry for the past 18 years. Originally hailing from Omakau, he helped to develop our vineyards in the Cromwell basin, before a stint with Farmlands as their Technical Advisory  Officer and has now come back into the fold as our Vineyard manager.  Hamish is still based in  Omakau with his partner Rebecca, they have two children – Lorelei and William. He coaches the local junior hockey team and is right into curling in the Winter.  Contact:


Sign up for our newsletters