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High country station cellar door, function venue

Media Release from Northburn Station
15 December 2009

High country merino sheep station launches cellar door and large function venue

A high country merino sheep station in the heart of Central Otago will launch a stunning cellar door and function venue operation just before Christmas.

Northburn Station owners Jan and Tom Pinckney have diversified from the traditional 12,000ha grazing operation to follow their passions for wine, food and hospitality.

The station is surrounded by spectacular snow-capped mountains, overlooking Lake Dunstan near the township of Cromwell. A 23ha vineyard, established in 1999, currently produces around 2000 cases of wine a year, primarily richly-flavoured Pinot Noir but also Pinot Gris, Riesling and Rosé.

Jan, who has an extensive history in food preparation and previously owned a restaurant, is the driving force behind the establishment of the station’s new venue, which will launch on December 19 and officially open to the public on December 29.

Affectionately known as ‘The Shed’, the new cellar door building is anything but – the reality is that it is housed in an impressive hay loft and stable-style building, modeled on the Northburn Station Homestead and adjacent historic woolshed of the 1850’s.

The exterior features genuine Central Otago-style stonework of rounded rocks embedded in clay and sand, and elsewhere corrugated iron on ‘lean-to’ walls comes from the old Northburn woolshed ‘covered yards’, also built in the 1850’s.

Inside the cellar door, every possible ingenious use has been made of original materials found around Northburn or neighbouring stations, including the floor and all door and window frames made from Australian hardwood and iron bark from the sheep yards at Leaning Rock station, (part of Northburn Station), in the 1920’s.

The bar top is formed from Kauri planks from the walls of the Leaning Rock dairy shed, and rimu architraves came from the old Northburn covered yards. Even the doors to the toilets came from the station stables of the 1940’s, and toilet vanity tops from the cattle yards.

Alongside the cellar door, a large multi-use function room has its first booking in January 2009.

“As a working sheep station, it was important to us to retain a sense of the genuine history and heritage of the land in the new building,” said Tom.

“It’s been said before, but our aim is to achieve a true Central Otago experience for visitors. There’s the stunning, tranquil setting of The Shed alongside a small pond with resident ducks Huey, Dewey and Louie, perfect for families to enjoy a picnic platter while Mum and Dad sample our wines, to the huge outdoor fireplace that’s a perfect relaxation spot no matter what the season.

“We’ll be the first cellar door operation in Central Otago to offer a food and wine match option, where each wine will come with a tasty morsel that just helps the palate appreciate the wine.”

In the spirit of sustainability, a large kitchen garden alongside the cellar door and kitchen does not use commercial sprays, is weeded by hand, and uses the farm’s own fertiliser.

A farm gate shop within the cellar door will sell merino meats from the farm marinated by Jan, whitebait in season, produce from the garden, and even individually prepared pre-cooked and ‘take home’ meals aimed at people staying in visitor accommodation.

The family-run operation will see Jan and Tom working ‘hands-on’ in the kitchen, functions and cellar door operations, as will Jan’s brother Richard Broadhead, the company wine operations manager, and Richard’s partner Pam Forster, who has a strong background in events and F&B management, as the cellar door and function manager.

The Shed cellar door will be open seven days a week from 10.30am to 4.30pm. For further information visit or call +64 3 445 1743.


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