The Hawke’s Bay couple building a cellar door for ‘the whole community’

Ash Ridge Wines

As I sat in the shade sipping cool water and chatting to the Ashworth family at their winery in Bridge Pa there was one burning question on the tip of my tongue — will you adopt me?

I had two reasons I wanted to be part of this family. Well three, actually.

The first, they are so lovely. I watched as Leith and Tracy interacted with their delightful daughters Imogen and Elodie and talked about their son Max who was off in the vines. Just beautiful.

Second, and this is a biggie, the Ashworth children and the family dog Winston have wines named after them. How brilliant is that? I would really like a wine named after me. The Linda; a bit fruity and loud, leave to age.

And the final reason, they own Ash Ridge Winery, a boutique organic vineyard, cellar door and kitchen on State Highway 50, Roys Hill, Hastings, in the Bridge Pa Triangle. I could help out by tasting wine and greeting guests.

Seriously, this couple in just two years have worked tirelessly to showcase their winery and wines.

They put a lot of time into their cellar door experience and it paid off when they were named winners of Bayleys Hawke’s Bay Wine Awards Cellar Door of the Year 2023 with judges saying, “Leith and Tracy Ashworth are successfully building a cellar door experience that’s young and fresh, for all of the community to enjoy.”

Leith, who is an award-winning winemaker, and also the winemaker at Junction Wines in Central Hawke’s Bay (owned by his parents, John and Jo Ashworth), is involved in every aspect of the business from growing, bottling, tastings, hosting events, farming the animals and can sometimes be found in the kitchen flipping pizza.

He started his wine career with Vidals in 2004 and says his winemaking mindset has changed since spending time in the cellar door.

“It’s interesting to hear what people think when they taste our wines. Seeing them enjoy it, and discussing the taste, has given me insights into how I make wine.

“So my wine-making has changed a bit. I’m making more approachable wines and getting enjoyment out of seeing people enjoy them.”

The couple, who live in Maraekakaho, say the Bridge Pa Wine Association works well with all the wineries in the area.


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First published by HB Today. Click here to read the full article.