New Zealand’s Family of Twelve celebrates its first ten years

New Zealand’s Family of Twelve celebrates its first ten years

It is with great pleasure that we announce that the Family of Twelve celebrate our tenth anniversary this November. Our first decade has been a tremendous success and plans are in place for the decade to come. In true Family style we celebrated this milestone with a lunch in Auckland attended by thirty eight Family members spanning three generations in the case of Villa Maria and Kumeu River.

Camaraderie and lively conversation are hallmarks of Family gatherings and this memorable occasion was no exception. The lunch was held at Merediths restaurant with a menu by renowned chef Michael Meredith, a loyal supporter of Family wines.

Founded with the shared goal of nurturing long term relationships and promoting New Zealand wine at its best the Family today remains deeply anchored to a philosophy of driving success through education and collaboration. The past decade has seen many successful initiatives and a deepening of bonds both among Family members and with our partners the world over. A fair assessment of our progress saw us achieve many of our goals and stay true to our founding principles while growing as a Family.

Our journey to date has also seen us grow as individuals but as with all families generational change and succession are inevitable with the passage of time. For our Family this changing of the guard is happening gradually as one generation passes the reigns to the next.

This year saw the retirement of our founding father Richard Riddiford after a twenty five year career at the heart of the NZ wine industry. Best known as the founder of Martinborough’s Palliser Estate Richard was also the inaugural chairman of Wellington’s annual Pinot Noir Conference and founder of Toast Martinborough. In 2000 Richard became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the wine industry and in 2014 was inducted as a Fellow of NZ Winegrowers.

Much admired for her contribution to the Marlborough wine industry Barbara Lawson remains one of the industry’s best known women. Having established their vineyards in 1981 Barbara, with her late husband Ross, founded Lawson’s Dry Hills in 1992. Ross and Barbara worked tirelessly to promote NZ wine at its finest with Lawson’s Gewurztraminer counted among the nation’s very best. Ross was an early and passionate advocate of screw-caps serving as a founding member of the NZ Screw-Cap Wine Seal Initiative in 2001. This year Barbara semi-retires to pass the baton on to long-time partners Tim and Pauline Evill. Barbara will remain part of the extended Lawson’s family as a roving brand ambassador.

Highlights from our first decade must include our annual MW Scholarship, The Great Chardonnay Renaissance tastings in Auckland and Sydney, our inbound programme which brings offshore wine professionals to NZ to tour Family wineries along with roadshow events in which the Family ‘took our backyard’ to our prominent international wine markets including San Francisco, New York, London, Dublin, Chicago, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Hong Kong and the major European trade fair Prowein in Dusseldorf . Less well publicised but no less important are the regular R&D sharing sessions in which our production teams meet to share knowledge, best practice and host guest speakers.

Initiatives for the coming years include establishing a presence on the ground in the United Kingdom with a Family of Twelve ambassador who will deepen our relationships with both the trade and consumers alike. Such immersion in this pivotal market will enable us to draw first-hand learnings from the dynamic yet fluid consumer-base in this region. Part of the charm of the Family is our ability and willingness to stay very close to our trade customers and consumers.

The Family of Twelve is made up of twelve of New Zealand’s most prestigious and enduring artisanal wineries. The twelve wineries span the full breadth and depth of New Zealand’s prestige wine regions and are Kumeu River, Villa Maria, Millton Vineyard, Craggy Range, Ata Rangi, Palliser Estate, Neudorf Vineyards, Nautilus Estate, Fromm Winery, Lawson’s Dry Hills, Pegasus Bay, and Felton Road

For further Information please contact:

William Hoare, Chairman – The Family of Twelve
Tel: +64 3 572 9355 Email: or visit

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