In 1996, we started to think about a retirement project. We were living and working in Dunedin and were fortunate enough to have a lovely stone cottage on the outskirts of Alexandra, Central Otago as a weekender. Though we were living as city people during the week, we had both been brought up in the countryside and felt an affinity with the land.
With Briar our beautiful Old English Sheep dog we walked the surrounding hills, and it very soon became apparent that Alexandra was the area in which we would like to retire. Sadly, Briar is no longer with us, but we do have two new bosses on the vineyard—Sophie and Lottie.
In 1997, we purchased five hectares on Hillview Road with panoramic views over the Alexandra basin and surrounding mountains. We chose this block not just for the views, but also because the land is ideal for growing Pinot Noir grapes… and here our journey began.
Over the course of two years of weekend trips, we established a vineyard with the help of family and friends. Many of the tasks were new to us, but we rolled up our sleeves and made it happen—Evan became very familiar with a shovel as he almost single-handedly dug 10,000 holes. In 1999, we planted our first Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes at Aravin Vineyard.
It was family and friends, balmy summer nights and BBQs that helped this all to happen. Now sitting with a glass of our own wine we look at the hard work that has transformed this once barren land into our beautiful piece of paradise. We certainly feel we are living the dream!
We look forward to a healthy future continuing to get our hands dirty in our vineyard and producing quality wine at an affordable price… and sharing our dream with you in every bottle.