Queenstown trailblazer dies



A Gibbston winery stalwart who died last week, aged 74, played a key role in developing the world-class Queenstown Trail.

Former American Terry Stevens and his wife-to-be Susan settled in Gibbston in 1999, buying a vineyard block on the former Wentworth Station.

He’d retired the year before, aged 51, after a long and successful career in the United States pharmaceutical industry.

They’d initially moved to California’s Napa Valley grape-growing region, but fell for Gibbston after a tour of Australian and New Zealand wine country.

While Susan played a major role in the Gibbston community, including developing its river trail, Terry was shoulder-tapped in ‘08 to chair the Queenstown Trails Trust.

Along with dynamo CEO Kaye Parker they raised $6 million for the trails network, including $2m from a government fund.

Terry insisted the trail be world-class, and it’s duly become NZ’s most popular Great Ride.

On the home front, Terry and Susan established the Wild Hare label from pinot noir grapes grown alongside their home.

Local wine pioneer and former neighbour Alan Brady says they were ‘‘driving forces as the Gibbston community developed around grape-growing’’.

A keen golfer, Terry joined Millbrook Country Club in ‘99 and contributed hugely to expanding its golf programme and joined The Hills Golf Club in 2013, starting its Wild Hare Wednesday comp.

‘‘Terry was also a keen advocate for making the golf course more fun to play for the widest array of golfers,’’ director of golf Craig Palmer says.

Susan, who’s provided the research for this obituary, says his smile, laughter and generosity were ‘‘legendary’’.

A celebration of his life’s being held at Peregrine Wines on Tuesday at 3pm.

People are asked to bring a colourful plant for a memorial garden, or a donation for the trails trust.