On January 10th, the founder of Redbank Estate, Colin Carruthers QC, turned 70. Instead of announcing his age I could have been coy and simply said he’d had a significant birthday but as one of his birthday cards stated: “Wine gets better with age. We get better with wine”.
I started planning his party two years ago and it was orchestrated right down to the last detail. There were surprises; there were 240 fabulous guests from all aspects of his life – legal friends, judges from District, High, Appeal, and Supreme Courts, vineyard workers, local Martinborough folk, people from as far afield as Sydney and Melbourne, winemakers, viticulturists, journalists, business associates, clients – and of course family.
The Right Honourable Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First, longtime friend and sometime foe of CCQC was the keynote speaker, and three of CCQC’s children – Andrew, Tracey, and Paul – made very moving speeches. Then three of his granddaughters – Ruba, Rose, and Lila – wheeled in a huge birthday cake (in a borrowed supermarket trolley adorned with balloons) they’d decorated in a haphazard representation of the vineyard property, complete with miniature animals. They were piped in, appropriately due to CCQC’s Scottish heritage, by a piper dressed in his tartan.
We had a huge marquee dressed in fairy lights, under balmy summer skies – all was just perfect, exactly as I wished and prayed for. I was so happy, and the vineyard looked perfect. Grant Chilcott, a swing singer from Auckland entertained and there was dancing into the night.
Nick Arnold from Martinborough’s Café Medici catered with roast pigs and lambs on spits, and our Te Muna Valley Pinot Gris, and James Pinot Noir flowed freely, along with Palliser Methode Traditionelle and Escarpment Chardonnay.
Then I had Transit buses to ferry the guests back into the village square. By all accounts that last bus was a very merry ride.