Doug and Eletheria Jones started their fruit growing journey in the early 1980s when they purchased a 10hectare mixed fruit orchard on Ripponvale Road to build their new home.
Always looking for opportunities, enjoying hard work and not being able to sit still for any period of time, they decided to put their proven track record of good business skills into practice and expand.
A new undeveloped block of 60 hectares nearby on State Highway 6 was purchased and Suncrest Orchard, just next door on Ripponvale Road, was leased and eventually purchased.
Tending the existing plantings and developing new ground as well as building a small fruit stall was hard work but hard work brings rewards and over 30 years on, Suncrest Orchard has blossomed into a successful enterprise that Doug and Eletheria still enjoy working in today.
The Legacy Continues
Like most producers, Doug and Eletheria still go to work everyday.
Doug turns his hand at many things, including keeping the rabbit population in check. Eletheria started and still manages the Jones Family Fruit Stall widely known as ‘Mrs Jones Orchard’ fronting the orchard on State Highway 6.
Son Michael manages the overall orchard and packhouse operation and daughter-in-law Diane oversees much of the finances and administration. Daughter Christina works alongside Eletheria in the Fruit Stall and Michael and Diane’s three children also work in the business during university and school holidays.
A New Venture
Michael & Diane start their winegrowing adventure with 7th Heaven Wines.
In 2013, Michael and Diane purchased a block of land in the foothills of Adams Gully, a historic gold mining area to the south of Bannockburn township to build their family home. That piece of land included a neglected 1.5 hectare vineyard of around 8000 vines.
Viticulturist Helen Cassels joined that same year and has been instrumental in shaping the 7th Heaven Vineyard into the productive block of grapes that it is today. Pinot Noir, Blanc de Noir, Rose and Pinot Port are made by winemaker Debra Cruickshank at her Bannockburn winery. A Méthode Traditionelle is also produced with Debra making the base wine before it is finished off by the masters of Méthode Traditionelle, the Le Brun family of No1 Wines in Marlborough.
Continuing to Innovate
Turning Waste Fruit into Port
Our winemaking journey has inspired innovation in the orchard. Fruit that doesn’t meet the exacting standards to be exported or sold domestically and is too good to compost is now crafted into a range of delicious fruit ports by our winemaker.
Each port captures the flavour of Central Otago’s world-famous summer fruits and can be enjoyed on their own or used as an exciting ingredient in sauces, syrups and dressings.