He’s not done learning.

Glenn Schaeffer defies every stereotype. A lover of arts, literature, travel, wine, cuisine, as well as an accomplished businessman, he has settled his sights on one purpose– his desire to share the beauty of Mahana with culture lovers from around the world. 

“Let’s create a work of art and share it with the world.”

~ Glenn Schaeffer, Mahana Owner/Director

Glenn Schaeffer is an American-born hotelier, published author, art collector and philanthropist. He is a major supporter of the arts in New Zealand, which he now calls his home.  He has a Master of Arts in Literature from the University of California (Irvine), Master of Fine Arts in Fiction at the famed Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has also been awarded Litt D. (Hon) from Victoria University in Wellington.  He was formerly President and Chief Financial Officer of Las Vegas-based Mandalay Resort Group for twenty years, one of America’s top hospitality and entertainment companies.

In addition to art, Mr. Schaeffer is a collector of first-edition rare books and a sponsor of contemporary writing: with both a deep commitment to supporting international writers of conscience, as well as fostering the development of emerging writers.  In 2006, Mr. Schaeffer was cited by Vanity Fair as one of the world’s most influential art collectors.

Previously known as Woollaston Estates (named after the famous New Zealand painter, Toss Woollaston) the vineyard and winery has recently re-branded itself as Mahana Estates, based on the now fortified role of owner, Glenn Schaeffer. Having recently returned to New Zealand, Schaeffer’s presence has fanned the flames of inspiration and, in a sense, completed the circle.

Under Glenn’s tutelage, Mahana Estates is a showcase of what is now one of the leading contemporary art collections in New Zealand. Included in this collection is Schaeffer’s most prized work of art – Mahana wines. “What I have created here is a performance piece. This is not a still life with wine – it is a story in the making and, like any great play or piece of literature, it is the imagination of the perceiver that completes the story.”

By experiencing a work of art up close, one grows closer to the mind of the artist. By experiencing wine up close, one grows closer to the mind of the winemaker. The Schaeffer collection is made up of works which are engaging and controversial, works that provoke thought – even arguments. They are not always understood, but they have an honesty – an undeniable verity about them that is waiting to be revealed by those who dare to contemplate their essence.

The wines made here are no different. They challenge our perceptions of the breed, our understanding of wine as a whole. Like a cutting-edge artist, they have an attitude of rebellion. They walk their path – always looking forward, always pushing out the end goal. Just as the modernist doesn’t make art to casually please the onlookers or appraisers, Mahana doesn’t make wines to casually please its consumers. These things are made because, despite what the world says on any given day, they are what we know to be the most precise expression of this time and place on our path.

“Creativity is a practice. It’s not an inspiration, it’s not an accident,” Schaeffer reminds us, “You can’t get somewhere without risking failure. As far as winemaking, I suppose I have fallen victim to idealism (there is painfully little money in the profession), but natural winemaking celebrates the earth and it attracts similar idealists.