Newspaper Article 2002 – Winery to shine for the glitterati

Winery to shine for the glitterati

The recently-built Craggy Range winery will be launched spectacularly next weekend, reports MARY SHANAHAN.

Pumping in 300,000 watts to light up its concert site – enough to power 300 homes – Craggy Range is gearing up for what promises to be an electrifying launch for its new winery next weekend.

The glitterati, who will be among 6500-plus concert-goers, can be expected to add their own sparkle to an event which will be a spectacular launch of the recently-built Tukituki Valley winery onto the New Zealand wine scene.

Even the chef masterminding the catering – internationally acclaimed foodie Peter Gordon – is a celebrity.

However, the real stars of Saturday’s “Our Giants” show will be the performers – kiwi legends Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tim Finn and Sir Edmund Hillary, who this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of his ascent of Mt Everest.

Craggy Range describes preparations for the concert as one of the largest logistical exercises undertaken in Hawke’s Bay.

Managing director Steve Smith said that, as part of the event, the winery was staging corporate hospitality on a scale seldom seen in regional New Zealand.

Truckloads of hired tables, chairs, cutlery, glasses and linen will be moved onto the site mid-next week, and two outside catering companies have been drafted in to help with the mammoth operation.

More than 1100 VIP guests will sit down to dinner at a variety of locations within the grounds of the winery.

Some will join a black-tie event to be staged lake-side and on the terrace of the winery restaurant Terroir. Others will picnic on gourmet fare set out within a grove of plane trees.

Some 5000 bottles of wine are expected to be [be] served during the VIP dinner and sold at a “boot party’’ site in the lead-up to the concert and during the show.

The logistics involved in planning the night had been “fairly challenging”, said Mr Smith – “for instance, trying to source more than 1000 really good quality wine glasses has needed some resourceful thinking.”

Ten months of preparation have gone into turning the sloping sheep paddock opposite the winery on Waimarama Road into a beautifully groomed concert setting.

Mr Smith said that, from the dinner showcasing local produce through to the concert itself, the evening had been designed as a breathtaking experience to promote the Craggy Range winery and Hawke’s Bay.

The conductor, opera specialist Robin Stapleton, and the chief sound engineer have been flown in from Britain just for the event.

A New Zealander now based in London, Mr Gordon will arrive in Napier on Tuesday to spend the rest of the week preparing for the big event.

His menu of delicacies to be served to top-tier diners include baby paua on kumara miso mash and scallops in sweet chilli sauce.

Many concert-goers are expected to cater their own boot parties in the carpark paddocks, which will open from 5.30pm.

Wine, beer and fruit juice will be available for sale to picnickers at normal retail prices.

At 7pm, concert-goers will be admitted into the concert arena to spread out on a sloping site chosen to ensure everyone gets a great view.

No food will be allowed inside the amphitheatre although Craggy Range wines, beer and fruit juice will be on sale at special stalls.

“This is not a concert in the park – it is a fully fledged outdoor auditorium,” Mr Smith explained.

“We’re inviting concert-goers to come early and enjoy themselves with boot parties in the carpark. The concert arena itself is very much a performance venue – it just happens to be outside.”

Some 300-400 tickets for the amphitheatre bank are still available at $120 a head. Selling at a rate of about 100 a day, they are expected to be sold out by the weekend.

However Mr Smith said it was possible there could be some general admission tickets available on site on the day.

Photo caption – POLISHED PERFORMANCE: Wendy Balfour and Michael Poff have their work cut out for them cleaning the thousands of glasses that will be needed next weekend. 

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Craggy Range

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  • John Cowpland
  • Mary Shanahan


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Wendy Balfour
  • Tim Finn
  • Peter Gordon
  • Sir Edmund Hillary
  • Michael Poff
  • Steve Smith
  • Robin Stapleton
  • Dame Kiri Te Kanawa

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