Misha Wilkinson’s description of “pirouetting” through Covid-19 seems apt, given the industry’s need to stay on its toes throughout this…
Judy and Tim Finn hadn’t expected their daughter Rosie to join the Nelson vineyard and winery they founded in 1978, knowing she’d follow her own dreams. And when she left her vineyard home for a design degree in Wellington, then bought a one way ticket to London, Rosie certainly wasn’t planning a return to the family business. “Before I left, I said I would never be in the wine industry.”
That changed when she worked with Mel Brown at New Zealand Cellar in London, and got a new perspective on the wine world she’d grown up in. “I felt like I found my place and what I was good at and what l loved… And I had the opportunity to continue to
do it in New Zealand, at Neudorf.”
When she joined the family business, Judy realised the skills Rosie had picked up through her studies and work were “extraordinarily useful”, especially when married with her deep understanding of the business. Her confidence in Rosie’s abilities was so strong that one lunchtime conversation saw Judy decide to step back so that Rosie could step forward. “It became pretty obvious that Rosie’s skills are better than mine… I think we were lucky and I hope we continue to be lucky.”
While the change was sudden, the process was “very organic”, with Judy and Tim living on the property, and on hand to help Rosie as she works alongside General Manager Todd Stevens. “It’s the world’s greatest handover in terms of a support system,” says Rosie with a laugh. “I think I am very fortunate.”
Judy notes that while the industry is seen as glamorous, it is “bloody hard work”, and Rosie grew up knowing the reality. She says handing on the reins requires generosity, a view of the big picture, and confidence that the next generation actually wants the change. It’s also vital to accept progress, and recognise the new skills needed in the modern world.
Meanwhile, Rosie considers herself privileged to have grown up with no pressure
to take over the business.
“It’s all come from my own desire to be part of the industry and that’s really important.”