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.
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!
John Wallace – Chief Winemaker
John is a retired Ski instructor, keen brewer, dedicated foodie and another mountain biker. He has been with us for over 14 years, 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.
Matt Groves - Global 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 on the Farm for over 12 years now. With wife Marti, they have two young boys Ben and William - this new found fatherhood has tempered his golfing, skiing and ice hockey pursuits.
Michelle Crawford – Viticulturist
One half of the Quest vineyard/winery operation with partner Mark Mason, Michelle has been guiding our vineyards in the right direction since her previous viticultural pursuits in other parts of New Zealand and Australia. She was a viticultural research student at Lincoln University and is very passionate about “natural vineyards” and sustainability, and is now overseeing the conversion of two of our vineyards to organic production.
Brock Campbell – Vineyard manager
Brock is a keen outdoorsman who likes nothing more than tramping and hunting in the hills of Central Otago. The success with the later to date hasn’t matched the keenness but that’s another story… Brock has been instrumental in fine tuning all our vineyards and has a fine feel for the different sites and what they require to bring out the best in the fruit. Brock and wife Sarah are the doting parents of two young children – Blake and Sophie.
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 partner Murray have two teenage children – Clay and Eilish.
Dave Laurent - Cellar Door Manager
Dave has been a Chard Farm supporter and imbiber since day 1. He was part of the local liquor industry for many years and brings with him an immense wealth of knowledge re the local and national wine industry. In 1994 he was found skinny dipping in the Chard Farm dam in the early hours of new years eve. He is famous around here for his culinary skills using all parts of our grape – intense grappa, smooth brandy and amazing Pinot Noir drizzle sauce, Roasted pinot sauce, various pinot chutneys and a wicked crab apple and chilli jelly spread.
Austin Black – Winemaking Assistant
A true blue (green?) Irishman, keen foodie and passionate winemaker. Austin has completed many vintages overseas and in New Zealand but has finally succumbed to the allure of Central Otago. With partner Pip (also a winemaker) and feline friend, Sam the cat, they are now putting down roots in the Queenstown area.