Our Stories


Phil and Chris Rose were originally growing Lucerne for export to Japan. Then the 1970’s oil shock hit 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 and in 1991 and the Wairau River label was born.

The River's Edge

The edge of the Wairau River is a special place for growing grapes. A unique place that combines the very best of Marlborough’s soil, climate and terrain. This is where the Rose family have pioneered and nurtured the Wairau River vineyards for over forty years, producing some of the best wines Marlborough has to offer.


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 Blancs.

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


Caroline Rose and her partner Tane Malcolm are both qualified chefs who established their careers in Australia. They met while working at China Doll, one of Sydney’s most prestigious restaurants of its time. Since returning home they have bought their international skill set to the Wairau River Restaurant.

They contribute sophisticated touches to a wonderfully simple menu  that celebrates Marlborough’s finest and freshest local ingredients.


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 and planting and nurturing grapes came 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.

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