In love with the light at Kopuwai

When Annika Streefland stepped onto the bare patch of land where Kopuwai Delta Vineyard now lies, she knew she had found a special place. Since then, developing this land into the beautiful estate it is now has been a labour of love for her and Silke Radde.

“We have been setting up the vineyard, doing the landscaping, and establishing the two olive groves on a part-time basis for the past 16 years,” says Annika. Annika has been calling Wellington home for the past 30 years, and Silke, originally from Berlin, has been in Wellington for 14 years.

It is the beauty of the region that initially drew them here and finally convinced them to settle in the Cromwell Basin.

Lake reflecting a snow-capped mountain with stone cottage in background.

“It is just so beautiful here,” says Annika. “There is something about the golden light, the four distinct seasons, the mountains in every direction, and the mighty Clutha running through it all that never fails to move me.  We love being here. It’s rustic, and nature has a powerful presence. The people here are wonderful, and there’s a great deal of sharing of expertise and time.”

The weather is something that they had to learn to contend with.

“The weather can be a bit overwhelming at times when you are reliant on the outdoors,” says Silke. “It has a way of putting you in your place every now and again.”

Annika and Silke are very passionate about the kaitiakitanga of the land. They are committed to pursuing organics and making exquisite wine that reflects the river terrace site. Although wine is their primary business, their olive oil also gets a lot of positive feedback. Kopuwai Delta Vineyard also boasts a beautiful stone barn that has been converted into a B&B that allows them to share this special place.

When asked how many staff they have, Annika quickly quips:

None! Only cats have staff! We have a long-term working relationship with Mike and Sharon Cook who run the vineyard on our behalf. As one of the three vineyards of Prophet’s Rock, we have that team’s expertise and help, and we also get the amazing Vanuatuan team during the busy times in the vineyard.”

Annika and Silke consider themselves lucky that their hobbies and interests merge with their work.

“We both enjoy plants and gardening in general, but it’s a shame we can’t say we like weeding,” says Annika. “We also enjoy tramping, and Silke is a keen photographer.” When they spend time in Wellington, they seek out their cultural interests such as music, opera, visual arts, and dancing tango. They also enjoy travelling and are now planning a trip to Argentina.

On the question of how they would like to see the town and region grow, they raised two main points: conservation and using design principles that complement the surroundings. Annika and Silke are both very passionate about the preservation of the environment and believe that our water and surrounds are our prime asset.

“Cromwell already has a high percentage of organic and biodynamic vineyards, so expanding on the sustainability of our agricultural pursuits is a good thing,” says Annika.

They would also like to see further development in Cromwell happen in accordance with the Medici principle of design, allowing creativity and design to meet to marry with our incredible landscape.

It is clear that this duo has a real love for this land.

You can find out more about Kopuwai Delta Vineyard by visiting their website https://kopuwaidelta.com/ or by dropping in for a visit at 31M Gilmore Road.

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