Wooing Tree Wines is named after an iconic tree, a Pinus Radiata, that sits proudly close to the middle of the vineyard. While we love the Wooing Tree wines the tree itself provides a great story also.
As the story goes this one particular Pinus Radiata pine measuring over 21 meters in height has been the maker of many romances, marriages, big ideas, the odd tipple and “gawd-knows-what” on it’s soft bed of pine needles for maybe as many as 140 years on the edge of the town of Cromwell.
However, when Stephen and Thea Farquharson and Jane and Geoff Bews purchased the 8o hectares of land including the tree on the edge of Cromwell they had no knowledge of it’s history and indeed gave permission for the wooing tree along with a number of others to be removed to make way for the new vineyard. Understandably, the removal of such a local landmark was unfathomable by locals. The story goes that local orchardist John Webb pleaded with viticulturist Robin Dicey over the trees future, saying his father (Jack Webb) would turn in his grave if he knew the tree was to come down. John remembers his father speaking of the tree all those years ago – “he would look out the window and say ‘ there is someone under the wooing tree’ this morning”.
Fortunately English based Kiwis the Farquharsons and the Bews were sympathetic to the plea and understood the importance of the both tree and keeping on side with the locals. Not only was the decision made to save the tree for many more woos to come but appropriately naming the vineyard the Wooing Tree.
The Wooing Tree is now set for another round of changes in it’s long history with an anticipated residential and commercial development around the vineyard with the iconic Wooing Tree taking pride of place in a public green area. If only a tree could talk – what stories this one would have to tell.
In bygone days Jack Webb did gaze across the road at dawn,
“Aha,” said he, “at the Wooing Tree, there’s something going on.”
Beneath its shade a youth and maid had pledged lifelong devotion,
From lingering kiss to wedded bliss was not an idle notion.
Time moves on, those days are gone, the land’s become quite pricey,
“Cut down the pines and plant some vines,” advised consultant Dicey.
But Jack’s son, John cried out “Hold on, you’re killing history,
It’s fine of course to clear the gorse, but spare the Wooing Tree.”
“How many wives led single lives, romance was not a starter,
Until they fell beneath the spell of pinus radiata.
Its friendly shade has given aid, at times, to copulation.
Without that tree there’d surely be a smaller population.
“You’re right. Said Rob “To save my job I’ll tell my English masters
To cut it down would rouse the town and that would be disastrous.
On opening day that tree will stay, all decked in festive finery,
Assured of fame, it’s given its name to the new Wooing Tree Winery.”