A triumphant year on two counts

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A willingness to train hard and work hard has paid dividends for Alexandra woman Lucienne Beyer.

Not only did she compete in the World Triathlon in Rotterdam earlier this year, her vineyard won gold at the Air New Zealand wine awards.

Mrs Beyer met her husband, Roland, while they were at university in their home country of Holland.

They arrived in New Zealand in 1986 and quickly found work in the hospitality industry.

Later they bought their own restaurant, Lindale Farm Kitchen on the Kapiti Coast, which they ran successfully for 10 years. They owned other businesses over the years such as garages and supermarkets.

But in the back of her mind Mrs Beyer nurtured an interest in wine, studying viticulture at the Eastern Institute of Technology via correspondence.

When a vineyard came up for sale in Alexandra they took the plunge, and in February 2013 Immigrants Vineyard was born.

“It was in a bad state, as we bought it from a bank,” Mrs Beyer said.

“We had to start swimming like mad.”

The 23ha vineyard comprises 14ha of pinot noir grapes and 4ha of pinot gris with some gewurztraminer and a small amount of chardonnay.

They have a contract to supply most of their grapes to other vineyards, with a small amount set aside for their own brand, Ruru Wines.

Winning gold at the Air New Zealand wine awards for their 2017 reserve pinot gris was proof for Mrs Beyer a boutique vineyard could compete with bigger players.

As well as winning with the vineyard, Mrs Beyer finds time to pursue her other passion.

While living in the Central Plateau at the beginning of the century, Mrs Beyer saw an ironman competition.

“I was not very active at all, so I thought ‘all these people, they can do that distance, surely I must be able to do something’.”

At 42, she began swimming, training in Lake Taupo, then started to expand from that, joining a local triathlon club.

“I had a really heavy old bike, and I was not a very good runner, so I just started out small.”

A setback occurred in 2011 when Mrs Beyer was knocked by another runner just before the Rotorua half ironman and broke her collarbone.

It took some time to heal, and in the end involved an operation.

“Just before they operated on it I entered the Rotorua half ironman, because I had entry from the previous year, so I finally did that.”

“I kept on training and training, doing the Wanaka triathlon twice, then in 2015 I qualified to go to the World Triathlon.”

But the event was in Mexico, and Mrs Beyer said it would have cost a lot of money, so she decided not to go.

By accident, she discovered the next year’s world triathalon would be in Rotterdam.

“So then I said to my husband, ‘well, that is an incentive because then I can go, visit family and friends, and combine things’.”

Qualifying in Wanaka again, Mrs Beyer went to Rotterdam, competing in the 55-59 age group.

“Going to Rotterdam was amazing,” Mrs Beyer said.

“For me, it is the peak. I’ve been to the world championships, I raced for New Zealand, which is my home now, in my home of birth, so it was very special.”