Enterprising Cromwell winemaker up for Supreme Rural Woman Award
A Cromwell woman has been recognised for her business success, creating a niche market for port and providing solutions for fast-growing boutique vineyards.
Debra Cruickshank, of Tannacrieff Wines, is one of four finalists to be announced for the Enterprising Rural Women Awards 2017 after taking out a category win - the SWAZI New Zealand Entrepreneurial Enterprising Rural Women Award.
She joins Kylie Davidson and Emma Hammond, of Hammond and Davidson Accountants, in Riversdale; Jo Kempton, of Happy Belly Ferments, in Greytown; and Kiri Elworthy and Jenny Bargh, of Tora Coastal Walk, Martinborough.
Cruickshank, through her DC Wines business has created Central Otago's niche market for not only port but also provided a solution for the fast-growing boutique vineyards wanting to create wine from their own vineyard.
Her wine journey started at Bannockburn winemaker, Akarua. She worked in the vineyard and winery for eight years, learning the ropes with practical on-job training and completing formal qualifications.
Cruickshank went on to manage a wine lab in Australia before returning to Bannockburn to start her own wine business, DC Wines. The Tannacrieff Wines brand is 100 per cent female owned and operated. She had the support of family who helped at harvest or during bottling, however, it was mostly a solo operation.
"I am beyond words and have been pretty emotional about it. I couldn't believe it. From were I started to where I am today has been such an incredibly hard journey but I have loved every minute of it," she said.
"My family and friends have been an incredible support. I guess when you are truly passionate about something and have a high work ethic you can do anything. I am so excited about where this will take me and the incredibly talented woman I will meet along the way. Fingers crossed for the supreme trophy in November."
RWNZ National President Fiona Gower said the awards showcased the talent and business skills of women living and working in rural communities, and how they could run very successful rural enterprises.
The finalists are vying for the Supreme Enterprising Rural Women Award, which would be announced on Saturday, November 18, at the RWNZ National Conference at the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill, she said.
This year's awards were supported by industry partners: Agrisea New Zealand, NZI and SWAZI New Zealand. The judging panel for the awards is Fiona Gower, RWNZ National President; Donna Williams, NZI GM Customer Experience and Marketing; Jill Bradley, Director Agrisea New Zealand and Warwick Bean, Sales Manager SWAZI New Zealand.
Award partner and judge Warwick Bean said the finalists demonstrated how they could develop from concept to instigation to successful business model.
"They illustrate the Kiwi ethos of the 'No8 wire' philosophy, in finding an opportunity and then a way to make everything work successfully."