Wine industry veteran Nick Hern, chief executive of premium drinks distributor EuroVintage, has been made a Knight of the French Order of Agricultural Merit for his exceptional contribution to the French wine industry.
Hern’s 40-year career spans a wide sector of the wine business. A brand manager with New Zealand Wines and Spirits Ltd in the 1980s, he established a family retail enterprise in the 1990s which was subsequently sold to Lion Nathan, then managing director of South Corp/Penfolds Wines and he began importing French wines in 1992.
In 1997, Hern established Vintage Wines and Spirits Limited which in 2010 purchased Wellington-based Eurowine and now trades as EuroVintage. What began as a small wine shop business (based in Newmarket) importing wines into New Zealand has become a national distributor, employing 70 people and selling 1.2 million bottles of French wine yearly.
Mr Hern was nominated for the prestigious Ordre du Mérite – the Order of Agricultural Merit – by another recipient of the award, Xavier Pignet-Dupont, Asian Managing Director for France’s largest wine producer, Castel Groupe. The award was presented by Vincent Hebrail, Agriculture Counsellor at Mantells last night.
“Obviously, I was very surprised but honoured to receive this award. I have been fortunate to work with some of the leading French producers and brands over many years but the award also acknowledges the Eurovintage team who have worked hard in the trade selling these wines for a long time,” says Hern.
The Order of Agricultural Merit was established in France in 1883 and was second in importance only to the Legion of Honour. It is bestowed on individuals by the French Republic for their outstanding contributions to agriculture.
To be awarded a Knight of the French Order of Agricultural Merit, a candidate must be at least thirty years of age, with 15 years of service or work in agriculture, whether in public duties or the practice of agriculture.
Privately owned and fiercely independent, EuroVintage is a family business that has delivered quality drinks distribution to New Zealand hospitality and retail from their Auckland headquarters for over 30 years. “We are extremely proud to represent some of the finest names in the global drinks business,” says Hern, whose work colleagues include his wife Julie and daughter Sophie. “Our team brings together an enviable pool of talent; our older heads provide a wealth of product and industry knowledge, while our younger crew delivers drive, energy and enthusiasm, and keeps us close to our rapidly evolving customer base.”