Meet the Wine Growers
Immigrant's Vineyard - home of Ruru Wines - is owned and operated by Roland and Lucienne van der Wal. We arrived in New Zealand from the Netherlands in 1986 with just a backpack each. Since then, we’ve worked in hospitality, owned our own restaurant, and operated grocery retail businesses, all the while following the growth of the New Zealand wine industry. In the early 2000s, Lucienne studied viticulture at the EIT in the Hawke's Bay but it took a few more years to realize our dream of owning a vineyard.
In 2013 we purchased an existing vineyard in the Alexandra Basin, between the Central Otago towns of Alexandra and Clyde. One of the most southern vineyards in the world, our 19ha vineyard is planted primarily in Pinot Noir grapes (16ha), with 4ha of Pinot Gris and a small amount of Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay.
After years of working the vineyard, Roland starting working on the design for a house and tasting room on the property. When he was happy with the design, we asked our son Michiel, a registered builder, if he was keen to take on the building project. At the end of 2018 we started our building journey. It took 18 months to complete and was a real family affair, with Michiel being the sole builder and Roland laying all the schist stones. During these months Lucienne had to be the Jack of all trades in the vineyard and our son Rob lending a hand as well. The entire build was filmed for the Grand Designs NZ series and aired on TV Three in early October 2020.