While ‘The Night of Us’ fundraising event on March 19 benefiting the Hawke’s Bay Foundation has sold out, wine and art lovers alike can still bid at its charity auction.

The stars of the show are three, hand painted methuselahs, each adorned with the work of a leading New Zealand artist – Dick Frizzell, Martin Poppelwell and Freeman White – and their contents filled with wine donated by Hawke’s Bay winemakers Tony Bish Wines, Te Awanga Estate and Te Mata Estate.

The artists were given free rein to design whatever appealed on the six-litre bottles, and have each created unique works of art that will soon grace private collections around the country.

The Night of Us is a community fundraising project spearheaded by local business owners John (Mac) Macpherson and Kim Thorp. Mac says Hawke’s Bay Foundation – which uses the income from donated funds under careful investment to support charities and community initiatives within the region – does exemplary work and needs more bequests, endowments and donations. 

“Giving through Hawke’s Bay Foundation means your gift is being used right here in the region we love, but in order to keep doing good – reducing poverty statistics, empowering families and encouraging growth – it requires ongoing support.”

Tony Bish, who collaborated with Dick Frizzell says he was immediately drawn to the Night of Us initiative and couldn’t wait to get on board. 

“I loved the idea of an artist and winemaker collaboration, especially using the special large format bottles and with proceeds going towards a very worthy cause. I actually asked to be paired with Dick, having met him many years ago when he lived at Te Awanga. I have been a huge admirer of his work over the years.” 

Deciding which wine to bottle was an easy choice. “The wine is from our finest vineyard, Skeetfield, which is old vine dry farmed Mendoza chardonnay. It’s a block that produces a wine of concentration and power that has great longevity,” he says.

Te Awanga Estate has been matched with artwork from Martin Poppelwell. Te Awanga Estate winemaker Rod McDonald has long been heralded for the success of his Syrah, and in this case, has selected from the estate’s very best parcels harvested during the 2019 vintage. Martin is best known for his interpretation of text and familiar motifs and this work also showcases his longstanding interest in glazed ceramics, with ceramic elements included in the finished auction lot.

Te Mata Estate’s winemaker Phil Brodie and landscape artist Freeman White combine their talents in the third bottle up for auction. Te Mata has chosen to bottle a cabernet merlot, celebrating its finest fruit from 2019. Freeman’s contemporary take on classic New Zealand earth forms captures a warmth and sense of connectivity that few other artists have attained.  

Tony adds that the sale of these very special bottles offers a rare opportunity to art collectors across New Zealand. 

“Both the artwork and the wine are truly sensational,” he says. “And it’s all for an excellent cause. We have many issues and challenges in our region, so it’s great to help where we can to build a stronger, healthier and more resilient community.”

Absentee bidding is welcomed and to register, email hello@thenightofus.nz  

Photos: Brian Culy

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