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A place to celebrate! – Rossendale Vineyard

Planning a wedding or family celebration is stressful at the best of times but in recent weeks, planning has become near impossible.



Enter Rossendale Vineyard! With more than 20 years’ experience, this beautiful and unique venue offers the ultimate setting for any celebration, big or small.

With in-house catering, experienced and friendly professional staff and beautiful gardens as a backdrop for ceremonies and photography, Rossendale is available year-round with each season offering its own opportunities.

A wealth of information is available on their website with an amazing 360 degree visual tour and drone-shot video that shows just how beautiful the setting and venue is.

For an on-site visit please call venue managers, Graham or Liz to arrange a day and time for them to show you around and discuss your plans.


Stellar Vintage

The anticipation is building at Cross Hares Wines; the 2020 grape harvest is about to begin.

“This looks like being a stellar vintage,” owner Natalie Edwards says.

“The quality and quantity of the fruit on the vines is superb. The weather over the ripening period has been settled and we haven’t had any major rain events, hail damage or disease. Our very own pest controller — our 12-year old daughter Tessa — has been hard at work under the nets, removing every single animal or avian pest. The pheasants, sparrows, rabbits and hares don’t stand a chance with her on the hunt!”

From their one-and-a-half hectares, Natalie and Warrick Edwards hope to pick five tonnes of pinot noir grapes and 10 tonnes of pinot gris.

“With 15 to 20 pickers, the harvest will take a couple of days,” Natalie says.

“It’s all handpicked to maintain the quality. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing the sound of a bunch of grapes hitting the bottom of a plastic bucket.”

Quality fruit means quality wine to come.

“We have just cellared the 2018 pinot noir. The fruit last year was top quality too, so we can’t wait to hear our customers’ reactions to the wine when it is released in June.”

Cross Hares has already made a mark with its wine at the NZ Wine Awards with bronze awards for their 2016 pinot gris and 2017 pinot noir.

“A good start,” Natalie laughs. “But now I’m spurred on to do even better – nothing less than silver or gold.”

For more information email


Sam Neill’s many hats

Sam Neill has been an international spy (Possession), a palaeontologist (Jurassic Park), a senior KGB officer (Amerika) and a corrupt policeman (Peaky Binders), but his most recent role was ‘host’ to a possession of family members who turned up at his Central Otago vineyard, Two Paddocks, over the Christmas holidays.



“I did get a bit of a break,” he says when we catch up in the New Year. “But it was chaos with grandchildren turning up… they seem to be proliferating!”

The 72-year-old has been a grandfather since 2000 and, between three children and a stepchild, he’s since racked up several more, not that he’s complaining!

“It’s always fun,” he says of the craziness that comes with a full house during the festive period.

But that’s not to say he’s lonely when they go back home; there’s always the other side of the family to keep him company.

Charlie Pickering (that’s his duck), Susan Sarandon and Anjelica Huston (a couple of his many beloved sheep), Helena Bonham Carter and Graham Norton (two of the cows) are all part and – very welcome – parcel of farm-life, Neill says. “Every animal has a different personality, so I’ve grown fond of them and enjoy their company.”

The Central Otago crew have developed somewhat of a media presence themselves, with Neill regularly sharing their exploits with his many global followers on Twitter and Instagram.

It was 1993 when the opportunity came up for him to purchase the block of farmland near Queenstown.

But it would take a giant leap of faith for Neill to plant pinot grapes in the first of his vineyards – of which there are now four – in the rugged Gibbston Valley.

Because although Central is world-renowned for the drop now, in 1993 it was yet to be demonstrated that the region’s dicey climate could produce a quality pinot.

But then wine – Neill says – is in his blood.

His family has been trading in the business of ‘booze’ in Otago since the gold rush, importing and trading wine and spirits since as far back as the 1860s.

“I’ve always enjoyed wine, I’ve never been interested in booze, but love wine; there was always wine on the table growing up,” Neill reminisces.

“Once I went abroad and I could afford to buy good wine as opposed to ‘vin ordinaire’ then I got the opportunity to grow wine and realised I wanted to grow really good wine.

It’s been a slow process to realise that, but a very interesting one.”

So what makes a good wine?

“You can reduce it to three things – the right grape, the right place and people. There are other things of course – patience, diligence, hard work, 8000 years of viticultural knowledge – there are many things that come into it, but I’m not interested in making wine; I only want to make great wine.”

And great wine is exactly what he’s making, at least if accolades are any measure of success.

His four small certified organic vineyards produce pinot noir and a little bit of riesling and he’s pretty proud of earning 95 points from Wine Spectator in New York two years in a row.

Two Paddocks is low yield, boutique winery and perhaps that’s why it’s so good; or perhaps it’s the passion that goes into it. Ask Neill and he’ll tell you it’s all about the people.

To Sam Neill, it’s the people that make everything.

He first caught the acting bug off his older brother who dabbled while at university.

It looked like “a bit of fun” especially when family on both sides were in the military.

The fact that ‘bit of fun’ ended up becoming a career wasn’t something he expected, “but just as well because I have a spectacular lack of confidence in any other field!”

“I certainly would not be much of a soldier, less of a businessman and probably a pretty average lawyer – all three things I contemplated at some point.”

He’s earned three lifetime achievement awards in the last few months – one in Spain, one in New Zealand and one in Australia.

And the accomplishment has given him reason to reflect.

“It looks like a very busy life, but I remember a lot of sitting around listening to good music and spinning yarns with friends, so while it’s been busy it hasn’t been hectic.”

Neill’s Twitter account says he is also seen acting “on occasion”, but at 72 it seems he is busier than ever, with a slew of new movies recently, topped by the recent announcement that he’s reuniting with his 90s Jurassic Park co-stars Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum on Jurassic World 3 in June 2021.

“I’ll be away in six weeks and that will take me somewhere warm when it gets cold in Central.

I’m very fond of Jeff (Goldblum) and Laura (Dern) and it’s always great to reunite with old pals. There’ll be a lot of laughs to be had.”

There will be plenty of local work on the cards too. “One of the best things about what I do is to come home and work on familiar ground,” he says.

“I’ve actually done three films here and in Australia in the last 12 months; Ride Like a Girl has done well in New Zealand and I’ve got another one coming up soon in May called Rams which, as the title suggests, features a lot of sheep, a subject I know a little about given I’m a sheep owner.”

He may have worked with some of the world’s best actors and directors on huge hits, including Jurassic Park and The Piano, he may also star in the popular British television drama Peaky Blinders, but at Two Paddocks there is little evidence of this glamourous, star-studded ‘other life’.

That’s where you’ll find him in the country’s uniform of red and black ‘swanny’ and gumboots.

He spends as much time as he can on the farm, between making movies, preferring the movies to come around when it’s winter in Central Otago.

“When it’s mid-winter in Central it can be very cold with short days as well, so I do like to be somewhere warm with some agreeable people to work with.”

And although his two worlds really do seem like parallel universes, in Sam’s eyes, they have plenty in common.

“It is people that are the most important thing.

I’m lucky enough to work with some really great people in films and also in my vineyards and that’s been the most rewarding thing for me in all of this.”



Beautiful Year-Round Weddings: Rossendale

Every season offers brides and grooms unique opportunities to celebrate their wedding, says Rossendale Vineyard Manager, Graham Jones.



“We focus on what the couple want. Every wedding is different and we design it around them.”

Unlike some wedding venues, Rossendale is a year-round venue that can easily accommodate 150-200 guests indoors and/or outdoors.

With award-winning in-house catering, experienced friendly and professional staff, and a stunning, working vineyard as a picturesque backdrop for photography, Rossendale Vineyard is the perfect place for small, intimate weddings or large, boisterous affairs.

There is plenty of information on Rossendale’s website – – including a 360 degree visual tour and a drone-shot video that shows just how beautiful the setting and facility is.

“The venue is basically a blank canvas,” Graham says in the video. “It can be themed and dressed to suit all sorts of tastes.”

Summer, spring, autumn or winter, Rossendale Vineyard is the ideal venue for your very special day.



CharRees Vineyard

A tipple at twilight: CharRees Vineyard

CharRees Vineyard is thrilled to announce it is again hosting the Twilight in The Vines evening. This magic occasion is in its fourth year, its success reflected in the growing numbers attending each year.

CharRees Vineyard


To be held this year on Saturday 24 November, this gorgeous event is the perfect way to unwind from the pre-Christmas rush. Entry is free, so gather together a group of your besties and head along to the vineyard at 22 Laings Road, Tinwald, Ashburton for live music, wine tasting, and gourmet delights in this stunning setting.

As the sun goes down you’ll enjoy music by local band Wayne Pannett and Co. It’s a certainty that al fresco dining doesn’t come any better, as you picnic between the vines or enjoy a delightful selection of food from elite food company TwentyFour Caterers, and new and awesome creators of street food, Yes Chef Events & Catering.

CharRees Vineyard will have take-home wine sales, wine by the glass, and of course its in-demand sample boards which offer a selection of wine tastings plus cheese and crackers, and surprise giveaways. There will also be a limited amount of craft beers available for consumption at the event.

The paddocks are available for free parking, where even the occasional campervan has been seen. Ever the responsible host, CharRees will offer a courtesy coach returning you home within the boundaries of Ashburton town and even making a run to Allenton.


For more information phone CharRees on
0800 CharRees (0800 2427 7337).


Clark Estate

A talent for a tipple: Clark Estate

Based on 34 acres in the Upper Awatere Valley next to the Black Birch Stream is one of New Zealand’s best boutique wine vineyards


Clark Estate


A family affair, Peter and Jane Clark have fostered some stunning vintages with Simon Clark now leading the charge in creating something a little different every year for even the most critical wine aficionado to savour.

From pruning to bottling, he’s a little bit perfectionist, mostly an artist, bringing you something special; working with nature to connect, to understand and to envision and make possible the potential that each harvest brings; creating a wine that is truly powerful, authentic and vibrant. With their méthode traditionelle making waves, along with the riesling, the rose’, the pinot gris, sauvignon blanc or the pinot noir, there is something for even the most discerning palate.

The cellar door is your opportunity, if not visiting the vineyard in person, to grab a bottle or six on the way through Blenheim. It’s cosily set in the front courtyard of Dodson Street Beer Garden, so pop in for a complimentary taste of the award-winning wines, poured for you by one of the family members.


Open 4:30pm to 7:30pm Tuesday to Friday or by request. You can become acquainted with not only the wine, but also the family and its truly unique perspective on creating a wine that you’ll truly enjoy.


Rossendale Vineyard

Endless possibilities: Rossendale Vineyard

“It’s a wedding venue isn’t it?” you might ask. Yes it is, but Rossendale Vineyard is so much more than that. With its large main room, three smaller rooms, acres of outdoor garden area and ample car parking, it is such a versatile setting that it is also ideal for any other function or event.

Rossendale Vineyard


Think conferences, seminars, small meetings, product launches, corporate dinners or even family celebrations. Possible ways of using the spaces for groups from 2 to 200 are endless. If your function is a conference, the provision of all necessary audio-visual equipment can be arranged.
And, at Rossendale Vineyard it’s a given that you and your guests will be very well fed. Delicious, nutritious and interesting food is, after all, the hallmark of this venue.


Phone Rossendale Vineyard on 03-322 7780 or email and the friendly, professional staff will supply you with an obligation free quotation.


Rossendale Vineyard,

Ultimately Unforgettable: Rossendale Vineyard

With a slight change of name from its former The Vineyard @ Rossendale to a simpler, trip-off-the-tongue Rossendale Vineyard, it’s very much business as usual for the beautiful venue located at 100 Old Tai Tapu Road.

Rossendale Vineyard,

Lucky are the bride and groom who say “I do” to having the most memorable wedding, ever, in a glorious garden setting, with the backdrop of a working vineyard only enhancing the magic; add in the luxury of being pampered by attentive staff, dining on delectable fare and toasting their happy future together from the vineyards bountiful best in wines, and it’s no wonder the newly-weds can’t stop smiling.
Winter weddings are plusher than plush in the Pinot Noir Room that boasts floor to ceiling windows and comfortably seats up to 200 guests. With a separate dance floor draped in fairy lights, and a quiet, intimate lounge and bridal room with ensuite for our besotted lovebirds to retreat to, should they want time out, it doesn’t come better than this.
Manager and mine host Graham Jones, who has been at Rossendale for more than 18 years, when not wearing his wedding hat, dons his conference hat, his family celebration hat, or his hugely adaptable whatever-is-wanted hat, to help clients plan for that ultra-superb function or event. “We have top class chefs on-site, and warm, welcoming staff. We do anything and everything; we are dedicated to delivering the ultimate, unforgettable experience.”
For more information email or visit