Nose building was meant to be
Native flora in olive greens and browns, lichen-covered rocks, cruising Karearea and the odd rabbit inhabit the steep mountainsides above Tarras Vineyards.
Owner Hayden Johnston has a passion for this rugged and difficult place...the dramatic canyons, the eye-wateringly beautiful vistas. A passion, it turns out, that has caused him a few sleepless nights of late.
The former chartered accountant recently hatched a plan to create a unique wine tasting and function venue high on this hill, to allow others to experience what has so inspired him.
At Cromwell’s swish motor racing and tourist facility, Highlands Motorsports Park, a resource consent issue caused the closure of a popular restaurant adjacent to the park entry.
‘‘I was having a coffee with Luke the Scottish manager there at The Nose and he said the place was closing and the building was going to be dismantled. Before I finished my coffee I had decided I was going to move it and that I had just the spot,’’ Johnston says.
Two locations emerged, the other being at Earnscleugh near Clyde.
As the logistics of moving the monster became clear, a narrow bridge across the Clutha River ruled that one out.
Now that the two-day transportation operation, possibly New Zealand’s largest and trickiest, is behind him, Johnston can safely say it was meant to be.
The building’s curved roof and perfectly matching colours have allowed it to blend remarkably well into its surroundings.
Even the locals say they really have to know where to look to spot it on its high perch, surrounded by nature’s landscaping.
‘‘I don’t think I could have paid an architect to design a better building for this site.
‘‘I’m very aware of the environment, we are right next to a DoC site here but it’s very suitable and just blends in.’’
Johnston wants to host wine industry colleagues for tastings at the venue which will be called Tarras Vineyards The Canyon.
He also plans to add a mezzanine floor and open the floor space for large groups.
Then there’s the celebrity chef idea...cooking demonstrations in a fully commercial kitchen with groups of guests.
The plan is to be operational by late summer.
‘‘We’re not starting from scratch, we’re just reassembling.’’