Waipara River Estate: Our Vision
- develop a boutique vineyard using sustainable winegrowing practices
- produce premium quality handcrafted estate grown wines with superb style and elegance
- improve the pastures in sustainable ways for grazing beef cattle and sheep
- develop a small number of luxury vineyard accommodation units - Annie's Loft & Studio.
- establish park-like surroundings as marquee sites for weddings and other celebrations
Michael Peters & Tina Besley
We are a small family business, managing a boutique vineyard, pastoral farm and B&B accommodation. We believe that wine should be fun and that life is too short to drink bad wine, so we aim to produce stunning, premium quality, estate grown, artisan wine in small batches.
We bought the 32 hectare (80 acre) farm (formerly Glenmark Wines) in 2007 when living in the USA. As New Zealanders we intended to eventually return home, finally doing so late 2011, both as professors at University of Waikato. Michael is an acclaimed writer and has even written on the philosophy of wine—see Dreams of Dionysus. Tina’s experiences in tourism, sales and marketing are invaluable. Together we form an excellent team.
We have been steadily upgrading all aspects of the property - irrigation, water supply, new vines, new fencing, gates, shelter belts & pastures. In all aspects of the venture, we are committed to improving the environment by using sustainable practices and going as green as possible - see the Annie’s Loft website for details. As part of the ‘Greening Waipara’ Project, which aims to improve biodiversity and encourage native birds which do not threaten the grapes, we planted native plants by our irrigation pond and adjacent field.
We renovated the barn & the old farmhouse which now has two self-contained luxury Bed & Breakfast accommodation units – Annie’s Loft and Studio. So come and stay a while and visit the local wineries, cafes, restaurants, wonderful scenery and the Waipara, Amberley and Hurunui District attractions.
Our viticulturist, Gwyn Williams and his excellent team at Vinecare Ltd, assist in the vineyard and with harvest. Gwyn has many years of viticulture experience in the Waipara region, having set up the initial plantings and worked at Muddy Waters for 10 years before establishing Vinecare and managing several local vineyards. Gwyn’s experience, skill and advice are invaluable.
Our winemaker is Kym Rayner of Torlesse Wines, a graduate of Roseworthy Wine College, South Australia, where he spent his early years. Kym was winemaker in several McLaren Vale wineries before coming to NZ, working first worked with Penfolds in Gisborne and then Montana in Blenheim before joining Torlesse in 1991. Kym is unashamedly passionate and totally dedicated to producing excellent quality artisan wines from the Waipara region.
Farm & Vineyard Operations
We are fortunate to have our farm and vineyard operations in the very capable hands of local farmer and former nurseryman and member of New Zealand Vine Improvement Group, Trevor Carson. Trevor’s practical knowledge about irrigation, vines and livestock reflect in a positive, hands-on approach that has seen the property flourish.