Nose build­ing was meant to be

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JILL HERON

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.’’

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