Mahana Estate restaurant and cellar door to close for winter

Mahana Estate winemaker Michael Glover.

Mahana Estate winemaker Michael Glover.

The Mahana restaurant and cellar door are closing down for the winter.

The destination wine estate was visited by Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at the end of 2015, but this year all visitors, royal or otherwise, will have to wait until next spring before they can sample the estate's food and wine.

Shareholder and former director Philip Woollaston said a decision had been made in the last few weeks to close for the winter, which was normal practice for wineries.

"We haven't done it every year, we've done it some years... restaurants in the countryside lose a lot of money in winter and so the restaurant is closing down until sometime in spring," Woollaston said.

He said they needed to close the cellar door too, due to liquor licensing conditions.

"You can't run tastings without selling food under the modern liquor act... wine sales are still possible and if someone rocks up they can still buy wine to take away we just can't do tastings unless the restaurant is open."

Woollaston said customers could still order Mahana wines via telephone, mail order, or online.

"We expect that it will be open again in the spring in the normal way, full of lovely happy people enjoying the view," Woollaston said.

He said the "normal practices" associated with informing staff of the winter restaurant closure had been followed.

According to the Mahana website, the vineyard was formed in 2000 by Glenn and Renée Schaeffer and Philip and Chan Woollaston. The Woollastons maintain a minority interest in the winery, while Glenn Schaeffer took over leadership in 2013.

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Schaeffer made headlines in 2009 when the US company he co-founded and headed - Fontainebleau Resorts - filed for bankruptcy.  It had been developing the $2.9 billion Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a 68-storey 3889 room hotel-condominium-casino, which remains unfinished. 

Mahana will remain open this weekend for Mother's Day, and will close down for the winter from Monday May 15 until further notice.

 - Stuff


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