Wooing Tree is owned by Stephen and Thea Farquharson and Stephen’s sister and brother-in-law, Jane and Geoff Bews, all of who are committed to producing top quality grapes and wine and are a truly family owned and run business. We asked Stephen to tell us his story.
Tell us about Wooing Tree. How did you get started?
Back in 2001, my wife Thea and I were working in the UK, thinking about how we could move back to New Zealand and get out of the office. We really wanted to come back to Central Otago for the lifestyle and were wondering if we could buy some land and set up a business. We found out my sister and brother-in-law were thinking the same, and also that there was quite a lot of grape plantings going on in Central. So, very quickly, we were buying land and planting a vineyard without any knowledge or experience. We set up the vineyard remotely in 2002 with the help of Robin Dicey and stayed living in Europe with the plan to come back for our first vintage in 2005. I left my job and studied winemaking and viticulture at Plumpton College in the UK, set up a small wine import and distribution business specialising in New Zealand wine, and did a couple of vintages in France, all of which was a great learning experience. We are all still working in the business, and as we’re a small family-owned and -run business we all get involved in most of the aspects. We love living in Cromwell and enjoy the wine industry down here.
When land was being cleared to plant grapes at the Wooing Tree Vineyard at Cromwell, the history of a special tree gave the new vineyard an identity and point of difference. A 100 plus-year-old pine tree on the property commanded a special place in local lore as a lovers’ rendezvous and had been called ‘the Wooing Tree’. Once the owners heard this story the Wooing Tree was not only saved, but became the new name of the vineyard and label.
The Wooing Tree is now fast becoming a popular place for weddings and marriage proposals.
Do you have a cellar door we can visit?
We do have a cellar door, open seven days 10am – 5pm. We do platters and desserts, sell wine by the glass and of course sell wine to take away. The cellar door has a very nice out door area and is child friendly with a sandpit and slide.
Tell us something really cool about your wines?
Earlier this year Reece Witherspoon posted on Instagram that Wooing Tree Blondie was her favourite NZ wine to 10 million followers and the post got over 77K likes! Sounds like the Pinot Palooza fans agree.
What style do you think characterises the pinot of your region?
Pure intense fruit flavours and great acidity
Tell us three things we need to know about your region?
Full of awesome wine, people and activities for everyone!!
What’s the one thing we must do in your region?
Visit as many wineries as possible!
If not you, who else should people try?
Too hard to say, we are all awesome!
When no one is watching, you drink…
Your pinots are best for…
Rehydration after running a marathon.
Your pinots are best paired with…
An astounding view.
If your pinot was a music artist, who would it be?
Maybe Pink? We do a lot of rosé, we do a sweet wine made for pinot noir called Tickled Pink, and we’re famous for a very blush rosé called Blondie.
Best music to listen to during vintage?
Black Keys, the Cure and anything from the UK circa 90-2000’s.
Where do you pinot?
With friends in the amazing Central Otago surrounds
What year was your first pinot noir vintage and what song best represents it?
2005 and it was Somebody Told Me – Killers
What song should we listen to when driving to the winery?
What song should we listen to when driving away and onto the next one?