The coun­try pub that’s for life

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - WHAT’S ON - ANAN ZAKI

It’s nei­ther lux­u­ri­ous nor up­mar­ket, but that’s the way they like it.

The Wood­bourne Tav­ern, in Ren­wick, is still a good old­fash­ioned coun­try pub, very much at the heart of the com­mu­nity.

So much so, in fact, it still does ‘‘baby show­ers, wed­dings and fu­ner­als’’.

And now, at last, as some pun­ters might ar­gue, ‘‘the Woody’’ is up for a top award.

The Wood­bourne Tav­ern, with its nine rooms out the back, is in the run­ning for the ti­tle of ‘best coun­try ho­tel’, as nom­i­nated by Hos­pi­tal­ity NZ.

Rowan Ing­pen and his sis­ter Stacey Good­win have owned the Wood­bourne Tav­ern along with step-fa­ther Richard Mar­low and mother Adri­anna Ing­pen since 2010.

When they bought the busi­ness, close to Marl­bor­ough Air­port on State High­way 6, it was in a poor fi­nan­cial state and the fam­ily worked tire­lessly to put it back on the map.

‘‘We’ve got good stuff, good lo­cals and we’ve been do­ing what we do, do­ing it well, good coun­try food,’’ Good­win said.

The nom­i­na­tion was both re­ward­ing and sat­is­fy­ing, she said.

‘‘It was dif­fi­cult, hard work and it’s great know­ing that our hard work has been recog­nised.’’

Kerri Brins­don had worked at the tav­ern for 15 years, stick­ing with it through the highs and lows.

‘‘There have been huge changes, all for the best,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s such a lovely, busy pub, some­thing new hap­pens every day.’’

Rowan Ing­pen said every one of his 26 em­ploy­ees mat­tered to the fam­ily.

‘‘You’re only as good as your weak­est link.’’

Every staff mem­ber had an un­der­stand­ing of the fam­ily’s vi­sion for the tav­ern, he said.

Ing­pen said the nom­i­na­tion also re­flected the unique­ness of the tav­ern in the heart of Marl­bor­ough.

‘‘It shows you what a fan­tas­tic wee place we have in Ren­wick, the heart of the wine coun­try.

‘‘It has baby show­ers, wed­dings and proudly claimed.

The other two fi­nal­ists for the ‘best coun­try ho­tel’ award were Gis­borne’s Jolly Stock­man and the The­atre Royal Ho­tel in Ku­mara, on the West Coast. The awards will be an­nounced in Welling­ton on Oc­to­ber 19. fu­ner­als,’’ he

PHOTO: SCOTT HAM­MOND/STUFF

Owner Rowan Ing­pen serves up a cou­ple of pints at the Wood­bourne Tav­ern in Ren­wick.

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