Why indeed, I said to Sean and Bevan when they were pruning the grapes and asked about the name of our vineyard. We haven’t, after all, been fashionable and chosen a Maori name. Did we name it Redbank because of the colour of the massive hill behind the vineyard when the sun is setting, beneath a red sky evening?
None of that. Colin Carruthers’s ancestors, as you won’t be surprised to know, came from Scotland. They were Borderers, those terrible people who snuck across into England and pinched sheep and cattle. His great-great-grandmother (Jane Wilson) was born and brought up on a farm called Redbank, near Colvend, in the southwest corner of Scotland known as Dumfries and Galloway. Last year we visited Scotland, and after driving around the narrow roads of the Solway Coast, found Redbank farm:
Now the Scottish people are lovely, but they’re different, so when we stopped to ask directions from a friendly-looking farmer, he willingly told us how to find Redbank, and cautioned us that the people here are “a bit strange” but “harmless”. We decided therefore to respect their privacy and took this photo from the gate. They do have a wonderful view from the farm though, overlooking the Solway Firth:
Miss Wilson married the son of James Carruthers, Robert (Colin’s great-great-grandfather) from Linnet Hall, a few miles away:
Their eldest son David (whose brother Robert was Colin’s great-grandfather) came out to New Zealand in 1861 and settled at Maungatua on the Taieri Plains, near Dunedin, and built two houses one of which was called Redbank. So when Colin bought this property in Te Muna Rd, Martinborough, for a vineyard, he asked his great-aunt Mary (sister of his grandfather) if he could call it Redbank, and she was so delighted she burst into tears.
Then he called the wine James.