Phil and Chris Rose were originally growing lucerne for export to Japan. Then the 1970’s oil shock hit which made the harvesting and drying of lucerne uneconomic. The Roses looked to find an alternative use for their land.

They decided to plant grapes. After battling some major objections around land use, Phil and Chris finally gained consent and started establishing their vineyards in 1978.

In true pioneering spirit, they began hand planting vines and raising a family. After contract growing grapes for some years, they decided to produce their own wine in 1991 and the Wairau River label was born.


After some early overseas travel and adventure, including a stint as a professional abalone diver, Hamish Rose returned home. He has always had an affinity with the land and a love of the outdoors. Planting and nurturing grapes comes naturally to him.

Hamish is Wairau River’s viticulturist and is in charge of managing all the family vineyards throughout the seasons. He works closely with his brother Sam, the winemaker.


Sam Rose grew up on the vineyard and spent his formative years following his parents around as they established their vineyards and made their first wines. The smell and love of wine is in his veins. He graduated with a degree in winemaking from Lincoln University and then worked with some of the best winemakers in the region, producing award winning Sauvignon Blanc.

Sam is now responsible for all winemaking working closely with his good friend and talented winemaker Nick Entwistle.

Chefs and Restaurant Manager

Opening in 1992, the Wairau River Restaurant and Cellar Door is one of the region’s original wine tourism destinations. Today it is managed and run by eldest daughter Pip Rose.

Younger sister Caroline Rose and her partner Tane Malcolm are the head chefs, preparing a simple and delicious menu focusing on fresh Marlborough ingredients that change with the seasons.

The Restaurant is a casual environment, a reflection of how the Rose family entertains at home.

The Wairau River Wines Family

Phil and Chris Rose


Sam Rose


Nick Entwistle


Hamish Rose


Dave Kenny

Export Director

Lindsay Parkinson


Matt Parker

VP International Sales

Pip Rose

Cellar Door & Restaurant Manager

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