January 2005 – www.newzealand.com – Hollywood screenwriter buys Martinborough vineyard. A British-born screenwriter once labelled as illiterate has realised his life long dream by purchasing Tirohana Estate vineyard in Martinborough.
Born into poverty, Raymond Thompson became the classic rags to riches success story when he was recognised by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his accomplishments in the television, motion picture and entertainment industry. As the founder of Wellington based television studio, Cloud 9, Raymond built a multimillion dollar global company, but these days he is said to be happiest sitting on a tractor in his beloved vineyard. Tirohana Estate is a boutique winery set against the scenic backdrop of the Martinborough Hills in the heart of the beautiful Wairarapa region. To ensure and protect the photographic backdrop of Tirohana Estate, Raymond also purchased some of the hills. The destiny of Tirohana and Raymond Thompson is very much intertwined. As a child he made wine (which got him in to a lot of trouble), and as a spiritual man Raymond believes that growing grapes and wine making is more than an artistic endeavour, he considers it to have a spiritual affinity. Raymond was born in England but spent much of his life in Canada and then Australia. Along the way he also spent time in Hollywood where he embarked on his successful career as a screenwriter. Despite his time spent amongst the glamour of Hollywood life, Raymond believes that he is no more than a custodian of the land, and has a great respect and love of nature – and his beloved vines. Yet he has also interwoven science (there is a weather system linked to satellites with an automatic voice that will ring the vineyard staff in the middle of the night to alert them to fluctuating temperatures). The Estate also features a photogenic and beautiful colonial home which is luxuriously furnished and available as a vinestay. The tasting area, in the cellar door, is full of character and dressed with some unusual artefacts including props such as cannons from cloud 9 productions.. and there are even a pair of thrones.