Wine is flying off the shelves thanks to high school students.

The Taradale High School Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) team Rescue Rose took legal advice before deciding the wine business was its business.

"We don't own the wine," CEO Paige Van Der Meent said.

"Our job is to find channels Ka Tahi Wines can sell through."


Created by world-renowned winemaker Rod McDonald, Rescue Rose was recently launched at the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter Hangar in Hastings.

So far 380 of the 1000 bottles have sold, with $3 from each sale going to the Hawke's Bay Rescue Helicopter Trust.

Rescue Rose team member Tessa Cotter's grandfather was helped by the rescue helicopter before he passed away last year "so we thought we would give back to them".

More than 200 students in 50-plus teams from 12 Hawke's Bay secondary schools are part of YES, deciding on a product or service and advised by mentors before pitching their idea to a Dragons' Den selection panel.

The national competition has been held annually since the 1980s, with alumni including successful serial entrepreneur and Xero CEO Rod Drury.

The programme gives Year 12 and 13 students hands-on business experience, providing skills and knowledge to take into future careers, YES regional co-ordinator Karla Lee said.

"These students come into the programme keen but with little or no knowledge of the planning and processes they need to go through to take a product or idea to market," she said.

"By the end of the year, they have amassed an amazing range of skills that can be used in whatever they do in the future. It is just amazing watching them develop."


One key skill was market research.

"The teams need to be sure their product is something people will want to buy and that it has a point of difference from other like products on the market."

Hastings District Council supports the programme under its economic development aims which include encouraging business education. Council Economic Development and Urban Affairs Committee chairman Damon Harvey said it was not about success or failure "but the learnings along the way and developing confidence and business acumen".