Driving down the gravel drive toward Te Mania and Richmond Plains, two boutique organic wineries I had decided to visit while on a weekend getaway to Nelson, the last thing I expected (or even wanted) to see was a rugby ball.

After all, rugby is mostly commonly associated with beer and I was at a winery.

But there it was in all its glory – a huge rugby ball weaved out of recently pruned grapevines.  Standing 4 meters tall and 6 meters round, you’d have to be blind to miss it.

Turns out with the start of the World Rugby Cup in Auckland only days away, even wineries have succumbed to rugby fever.

The giant rugby ball is the centerpiece of New Zealand’s first grapevine sculpture exhibition featuring the works of local artists who have creatively twisted, curved and bended the vines into works of art.

Normally, pruned grapevines are mulched but this year the vineyard staff decided to have some fun and get creative with the vines. In partnership with the Nelson Arts Council and local artists, the idea of a grapevine sculpture exhibition was born.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Besides the giant rugby ball, and it’s smaller twin inside the tasting rooms, there is a wonderful collection of grapevine sculptures on display.

 

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