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Archangel Wines puts Queensberry on NZ wine map

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The official opening of Archangel Wine Tasting Lounge and Cellar Door sees the relatively new Central Otago winery formally put the sub-region of Queensberry on New Zealand’s wine map.

Just 15 minutes’ drive from Wanaka, on Queensberry Terrace in the Upper Clutha Valley of Central Otago,

Archangel established an 11ha vineyard in 2003 that includes Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling vines.

Archangel’s owners Ian and Mary Zurakowski brought in a team of wine industry experts - consulting viticulturist Dr David Jordan and winemaker Peter Bartle to help create their wines which have been award-winning from the onset. The first Pinot Noir they produced in 2008 won the Pure Gold Award at Air New Zealand Wine Awards in 2009. From there on, numerous awards have followed including the Air New Zealand Pure Elite Gold for their Pinot Noir 2012, Pure Gold for their Pinot Noir 2013, Pure Gold for their Stefania Rielsing 2012 and Pure Elite Gold for their Chadonnay 2015.

The story of Archangel begins in 1940 with Ian and Mary Zurakowskis’ mothers, Stefania and Halina, who were deported from their homes in war-torn Poland and sent to forced labour camps in Arkhangel’sk, Siberia. Although they had not yet met, their road to freedom would be a parallel journey that would see them traverse many continents to end up in refugee settlement camps in Africa. When British National Defence officials arrive in Africa, searching for new recruits to support the war effort in Europe, both Stefania and Halina enlist in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and are sent to the same RAF camp in Nottinghamshire in England. It is there that a life long friendship begins and where they meet their future husbands. A generation later, serendipity and romance brings Stefania’s son Ian, and Halina’s daughter Mary - together. Ian and Mary then begin their own journey from England to New Zealand, ending up in Central Otago where they establishd a vineyard and a place they felt worthy of being called Archangel.

Now, with the opening of their Wine Lounge and Cellar Door, the family behind Archangel Wines can share the fascinating story of their heritage, their award winning wines and their vineyard’s stunning glacial landscape with wine enthusiasts from around New Zealand and the world.

"The Archangel Wine Lounge and Cellar Door is part of a bigger dream," says Mary Zurakowski, who is also a well-established multi-media artist. "It’s an exciting next step in our journey, having created a special space beside our vineyard where we can share our love of wine, art and platters of locally produced food with our guests. It’s wonderful to host visitors from around New Zealand and the world who come to us for wine tastings or to enjoy a glass of wine and a platter on the terrace."

Mrs Zurakowski has created a calendar of events to showcase the Archangel Wine Lounge, such as a recent International Women’s Day ‘Make Your Mark’ wine and art event. Complete with a professional kitchen, the venue can host weddings, corporate events and other special occasions.

The Zurakowski’s invited Joan Manley-Houlton to officially open the Archangel Wine Lounge and Cellar Door. Beginning her working life in the secretarial pool at Doubleday Publishing, Joan Manley-Houlton would rise to the pinnacle of the American Publishing industry. Co-founder, publisher and eventual chairman of the board of Time-Life Books Joan Manley-Houlton would become the first woman to be named vice-president of Time Life Inc.

"Joan is the consummate success story, breaking the glass ceiling in what was a male dominated corporate world. Her energy, her zest for life and her success as one of America’s first women exectuives inspires us. It seemed fitting to invite Joan to officially open the Archangel Wine Lounge and Cellar Door", says Mrs Zurakowski.

The family business also utilises the talents of son Zenek Zurakowski in a business marketing and sales role. Zurakowski junior formerly marketed Archangel Wine in the United Kingdom and has been instrumental in the development of online, restaurant and retail outlet distribution channels for the winery.

The Archangel Wine Lounge and Cellar Door is located at 68 Queensbury Terrace, Queensberry, Cromwell 9383 and more information is available on the website, or follow Archangel on Facebook or Twitter.

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