My top winery for 2017

Craggy Range vineyards and winery (Photo: Craggy Range Wines)

Craggy Range is the winner of my Golden Grapes award for 2017. What’s a Golden Grapes award? It’s a trophy that recognises an outstanding contribution to the New Zealand wine industry and to the people of New Zealand.

When the Peabody family founded Craggy Range in the early nineties, as a legacy for future generations they established a 1000 year trust meaning the winery can never be sold. That’s commitment!

They built a beautiful winery and restaurant on a stunning site beneath the spectacular Te Mata Peak. Landscaped grounds include a lake and a forest. Vineyards were established in prime Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough sites, with a second winery in the Gimblett Gravels subregion. They hired and trained top people to help them produce truly great wines.

Craggy Range has added value to New Zealand wine in our important overseas markets. They have made a massive contribution to wine tourism in Hawke’s Bay and beyond. Their Giants winery and Terrôir restaurant add a serious touch of glamour to land that might otherwise be used for high-density housing or grazing sheep. I can’t begin to imagine how many millions of dollars they have pumped into the local economy.

Terry Peabody deserves a knighthood.

Which is why my blood pressure achieved an all-time high after reading on the NZ Herald website that an environmental advocacy group, Environmental Defence Society (EDS), considered taking legal action over a walking track constructed by Craggy Range on their own land at Te Mata Peak.

The facts, according to the NZ Herald are as follows. Craggy Range followed the rules with an application to the Hastings District Council.

Council Planning and Regulatory Group Manager John O’Shaughnessy said the council disagreed with the opinion expressed by the environmental group.

“Council is confident that the proper process has been followed, that in doing so it has applied the law correctly, and that the issue of the resource consent for the track was the correct outcome of that process,” he said.

Craggy Range spent NZD $300,000 building the track.

Despite having done everything by the book, Craggy Range graciously agreed to remove the track and turn their land back to its original state at their own expense.

They thoroughly deserve my Golden Grapes award.

4 thoughts on “My top winery for 2017”

  1. Mahmoud Ali says:

    Sir Mr. Wells, whatever you might think about the “anglocentric irrelevancies” of a knighthood, the truth of the matter is that New Zealander’s head of state is the Queen of England (as is Australia and Canada’s) and objecting to a knighthood, bestowed by the Queen, seems oddly contradictory.

    As for Craggy Range, they bent over backwards to accommodate everyone. It was their property, they applied for a permit from the correct authority and then, after following the correct process, spent money installing the track. Then, in the face of a protest, they removed the track, presumably at their own expense. Whether the Hasting DC or the EDS is correct is moot, it never went ot court. The “good guys” are Craggy Range, the other two, we don’t know. Apologies are owed by neither Craggy Range or Mr Campbell. EDS should be grateful and leave it at that.

    Cheers ……….. Mahmoud Ali.

  2. Bob Campbell says:

    I understand that over 1000 people a day have been walking the track despite it being closed. It seems there is growing support for it. I’d like to see it re-open, with approval from all interested parties of course.

    1. Jeffery Wells
      Jeffery Wells says:

      The point was that it should not have been built in the first place. Of course when you build it people will use it, ‘closed’ or not.

  3. Jeffery Wells
    Jeffery Wells says:

    Sir Bob
    By all means a knighthood (if you believe in such old-fashioned anglocentric irrelevancies!) for Terry Paebody, but please avoid raising your readers’ blood pressure with an ill-considered dissing of the Environmental Defence Society. They are the good guys here, along with Craggy Range themselves; the Hastings DC, not so much.
    Perhaps a quick read of the facts as set out here – http://www.eds.org.nz/our-work/policy/media-statements/media-statements-2017/media-release-nbsp-eds-welcomes-craggy-range/ – would lower your blood pressure to the levels required to continue your exceptional skills in accurate and informative wine tasting.
    And perhaps a published apology to the EDS would be a gracious move. We need them now more than ever.
    Also a respectful suggestion – avoid exclusive reliance on Granny Herald as an informed source of news!
    Kind regards and Happy New Year
    Jeff Wells

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