Joelle Thomson

Writer, author, journalist

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Dry River's new owner announced

The US based Robertson family behind acclaimed New Zealand properties Kauri Cliffs, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers & Matakauri Lodge have agreed to sell their New Zealand winery investment, Dry River Wines, to Wellington-based businessman Charlie Zheng, owner of Luna Estate as well as the luxury retreat Parehua Resort.
Since the Robertson family purchased Dry River Wines in late 2002, they have substantially built on the legacy of the winery founders Dr. Neil and Dawn McCallum, who founded the winery in 1979 and were among the first to plant grapes in the Martinborough region. 
Under the Robertson’s ownership (2002-2022), Dry River wines continued to build on its reputation as an iconic wine brand and arguably the country’s best. 
In April this year, the decision was made to quietly put Dry River on the market.
“While my family’s deep love and commitment to New Zealand remains strong, the last couple of (Covid) years gave us the chance to refocus and consolidate our business interests. With three award-winning New Zealand lodges and two outstanding golf courses under the Robertson Lodges banner, it became evident that tourism, hotels and their restaurants, and golf were our core New Zealand businesses.  These pillars will remain our focus for many years to come, as we continue to strive for greatness, commented Robertson Lodges CEO and Robertson family spokesman, Jay Robertson.
“We are so proud to have been the custodians of Dry River for the past twenty years, carrying on the legacy the McCallum’s began in 1979. Our family have invested heavily in the brand over the past decade and feel we are ready to pass ownership to the next passionate and committed steward. It has been an honour to be part of the Dry River story, and we believe Charlie Zheng will continue to invest and build on the Dry River brand as the new custodian”, Robertson concluded.