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A winning winery: Melton Estate

Imagine a place architecturally-designed for weddings that was tailored to make your big day everything you wanted and more.



Think of an all-weather outdoor wedding chapel and entertaining space that comes complete with lighting and heating.

Well…lucky for you, you do not have to imagine. Melton Estate is a boutique winery located just 15 minutes west of Christchurch airport in West Melton. And after 18 years of hosting, it’s fair to say they know what they’re doing.

A full-service wedding experience doesn’t stop with the bridal party. Esteemed guests are treated to newly added all-ages games lawn, featuring pétanque, badminton and croquet.

It is the only Canterbury winery wedding venue with a Qualmark Four Star Plus rating and has earned a Silver Sustainable Tourism Business Award. Quality, sustainability and customer service are a daily focus. | | (03) 347 4968

A place to celebrate! Rossendale Vineyard

Planning a wedding or family celebration is looking a lot brighter in recent times, and if a vineyard setting is calling, look no further than Rossendale.



A beloved venue for many years, this beautiful and unique property 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.


Romance in the vines: Cross Hares

Romance is in the air at Tai Tapu vineyard Cross Hares, so much so that a couple who just popped by their cellar door for a bottle, ended up getting engaged by the vines, not at all deterred by the activity of Warrick and his digger in action!



They’ve been busy harvesting grapes for the next Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir vintage that they’re very excited about.

Drive in and have a taste of what’s on offer for your wedding. And don’t forget to follow the five steps – color, swirl, smell, taste, and savour.

Natalie says they’ve added a sixth step, “Our delicious Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir are Mother-in-law-friendly!”

7/1269 Christchurch Akaroa Road, Tai Tapu
027 724 3015 |


Your own blank canvas: Rossendale Vineyard

“Each bridal couple we work with has unique tastes and ideas. They just have to tell us what they want and we will make it happen,” says Rossendale Vineyard’s events manager Graham Jones.



“We have such an adaptable canvas here in our venue, it can be dressed and themed to suit all tastes – from rustic to contemporary, traditional to funky, sophisticated to casual.”

Not only is Rossendale a blank canvas waiting to be painted, it is also an all-inclusive venue supplying beautiful napery, sparkling glassware and shining cutlery.

“There is real convenience for our guests because we set everything up for them. It’s all ready to go – so, much less stress and also much more economical in both time and money. ”

There is even more to Rossendale than the wedding venue itself. The garden settings add to the versatility.

“Our gardeners have been working very hard during the autumn and winter months to ensure everything will be stunning for spring and summer weddings.

“There are so many beautiful mature trees and shrubs here – oaks and copper beeches, rhododendrons and kauri, as well as extensive lawns and a stream boundary. So many location choices for an outdoor ceremony.”

You can contact Graham on (03) 322 7780 or email

He will be delighted to show you how the friendly professional Rossendale Vineyard team make it easy to transform your wedding ideas into a wonderfully memorable day.

He may even be able to summon up some available dates for you in March/April of 2021.


So, why Rossendale? Rossendale Vineyard

Just a stone’s throw from the city, Rossendale Vineyard feels like a world of its own.


With large outdoor spaces and flexible indoor areas, this relaxed and private venue is adaptable for any function or event.

Offering delicious, nutritious, and interesting dining options, their chef can cater for all tastes and budgets.

Providing a highly personalised and professional service to make your event a reality, their experienced planners will help at every step to ensure your event runs perfectly.

All of this could be yours for your next conference, event or function within just a short 15-minute drive from the city centre.

Phone 03 322 7780 or email for an obligation-free quote


Not just a pretty place: Larcomb Vineyard

We’re not going to pretend that when planning an event your venue options are limited…in fact it’s quite the opposite.


With so many choices out there, it can be hard to find the one that’s right for you and your guests. In order to help with the decision Metropol caught up with Tom Lawson from Larcomb Vineyard, about their place just ten minutes out of Christchurch.

The vineyard showcases some of the best views the region has to offer. Which are much nicer to look at than the four walls of a conference hall in a bustling city.

Tom puts it perfectly, that with their venue it’s “not just another day at office”. Well…unless you work at a vineyard. But it’s important to remember that it’s not just a pretty place, the space has so much more to offer.

Their hall is a space that can host a humble 50 to a huge 250. Not to mention it’s very flexible, you can have a whole space or – with a few separators – many.

Larcomb Vineyard also offers onsite catering and bar facilities, so you only have to worry about turning up. | Ph: 022 425 8628 |


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.