Written by Victoria Clark
Two days after graduating from a four-year design degree, Rosie Finn flew to London, determined to become “the next great photographer.”
Her parents, Judy and Tim Finn, had known for many years their only child had no intention of ever joining the family business, Neudorf Vineyards, which they’d founded in the 1970s; and, Rosie says, “they loved that I was going after my dream career.”
Even so, just hours before Rosie left New Zealand – with little money and no job organised - her understandably-anxious mother posted on social media: “Does anyone want to have a coffee with Rosie? She’s coming to London.”
The first reply came from Melanie Brown – a New Zealand chef and passionate advocate for New Zealand wines.
“It’s the best social media blind date I have ever been on,” says Rosie. “Melanie was two days’ out from launching The New Zealand Cellar and took me on to do her on-line digital management and work with her on a kick-starter to open The New Zealand Cellar in Brixton. It was a raging success and now stocks 175 different wines from 80 New Zealand companies. New Zealand winemakers gravitate there every time they visit London, and hold tasting-events there, too.
“Melanie introduced me to a whole other side of the wine industry. I fell in love with it and with the people.”
Eventually, unable to renew her work-visa in London, Rosie returned home to Neudorf.
“It was a no-brainer, what I was going to do,” she says with a wry smile. “I came back to eat my words. I said to my parents “I’m in!” – which is quite amazing now, because I’d always believed working in the wine industry would never be my strength.”
As Neudorf Vineyard’s head of print media, social media and its website, Rosie is frequently using her design degree skills, including her photography, in which she majored.
“I’m immensely proud of my parents and what they’ve achieved. I grew up in this winery, so to come home and smell all those smells of a vintage – well, it’s just so emotive, and takes me right back to my childhood. And now I work here. I am so lucky. I absolutely love it.”