Our Story

Founded by Boston-based wine lovers Arié Dahan, Beth Ann Dahan, and Max Risman, Vela Wines was launched in 2011 with the goal to bring the exclusive taste of New Zealand to America.

Captivated by the country and people of New Zealand, and driven by passion and adventure, the group traveled to find what would soon be a vineyard of their own. On their twelfth night of traveling, they visited the astronomical observatory on Mount John, and were mesmerized by the beauty of the stars. After purchasing the vineyard they visited the following day, the label Twelfth Night Wines was born, appropriately named after the inspirational night.

Located in Central Otago, their vineyard, named after their company Vela Wines, sits among breathtaking views of stunning mountains and the captivating Lake Dunstan. Constantly inspired by New Zealand, Twelfth Night Wines hopes to share a bit of the country’s beauty in every bottle.

Our Team

Beth Ann Dahan

A lifelong lover of travel, food, and good wine, Beth Ann is thrilled to now combine her love of all of these things by being a part of Vela Wines in New Zealand and in bringing the best of the country’s wines back to the US. She started her career working in international development in Africa, Washington, DC and New York.

Food and wine were never far from her heart and in 2003 she opened a café and catering business in the Boston area. Married to a Frenchman (Arié) for over twenty years, she decided to devote herself full time to the joys of wine and winemaking. A lecturer in wine studies for the past several years at Boston University, Beth Ann is fully enjoying the very gratifying task of importing and marketing an array of New Zealand wines to the US markets.

Arié Dahan

Raised in Paris, France, Arié came to Boston in the US in 1993 and has been there ever since. With a lengthy career in the financial services industry, Arié decided in 2011 to plunge into the world of wine and winemaking with his wife Beth Ann and business partner Max Risman. What better place to do it than in the far-flung beautiful country of New Zealand!

While creating financial spreadsheets might seem like a far cry from viticulture and winemaking, Arié has thrown himself into Vela Wines with all the passion and precision that it takes to make the best possible wines and make Vela a successful venture in New Zealand and abroad.

Max Risman

Growing up in Moscow, Russia during the tumultuous 1990s, Max Risman is used to applying out-of-the-box solutions to unusual investments. And what could be more unusual than investing in the southernmost wine growing region of the world – Central Otago, New Zealand!

With a degree in chemical engineering and investment experience across many different industries and locales, Max is out there to prove that a scientific approach to wine growing can be fun and profitable at the same time.

Antony Worch
COO / Winemaker

A native Frenchman, Antony parlayed his vast oenological studies in France into a force to be reckoned with in the New Zealand wine industry. He has vast experience in viticulture and winemaking in many regions of France as well as in South Africa and New Zealand. Based full-time in New Zealand since 2010, Antony served as the manager and full-time winemaker at Alexandra Vintners in Central Otago. Antony started making wine for Vela in 2012, and in 2013 he became the COO for all Vela operations in New Zealand.

He is involved from grape to glass and applies his extensive knowledge of cool-climate viticulture and winemaking to help Vela produce the best possible wines now and for the future.

Julien Alexandre
Vineyard Manager

Julien comes from France where he has worked in various wine regions before moving to Australia and South Korea to develop his knowledge in viticulture.

In 2013 he decided to move to New Zealand to gain more experience and accepted to work full time for Vela first as an irrigation specialist and now as the vineyard manager. Water management is key to growing high-quality Pinot Noir and Julien makes sure we reach our goal.

If you don’t find him in the vineyard, try on the shore of Lake Dunstan and look for the trout and eels in his fisherman’s basket.

Miran Park
Seasonal Staff Supervisor

Miran has spent all her childhood in her family owned vineyard in South Korea. In 2011 she decided to gain experience in Australia, before joining the Vela team in 2013. She now uses all her experience in viticulture and management to look after the seasonal staff and make sure we grow the best Pinot Noir grapes.