Waiheke Island's Characters of Wine

Marti Friedlander (left) and Clare Dunleavy who worked on Waiheke Island: A World of Wine together. Picture / Supplied

If anyone knows the trials and tribulations of winemaking, it is Clare Dunleavy. For over 20 years she has worked in the vineyards of Waiheke — among the vines, at cellar doors, in restaurants. Her father Terry has been a stalwart of the industry, and her brothers Paul and John run the family-owned Te Motu vineyard. So, when it came to telling the story of the island and the passionate people who have created its now world-class wine industry, Clare was the perfect person for the job.

Each chapter of Waiheke Island: A World of Wine is dedicated to the visionaries who have transformed bare land into flourishing vineyards. From Kim and Jeanette Goldwater who bought land on the island in 1977, brought over every post and piece of machinery from the mainland on their yacht and rowed it ashore to build their vision, through to Carrie Mendell and Campbell Aitken who, most recently, were the driving forces behind the transformation of a rundown vineyard restaurant, into the incredibly chic Tantalus, the stories capture how much the wine scene on Waiheke has evolved.

Waiheke Island: A World of Wine was also probably one of the last projects the great New Zealand portrait photographer Marti Friedlander worked on, before she passed away last year at the age of 88. In a heartfelt dedication at the front of the book, Clare shares how it was a dream of hers to work with Marti, and how their friendship grew during their time working together.

Waiheke Island: A World of Wine by Clare Dunleavy (Beatnik Publishing: $70) is available from April 18.

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