PUBLISHED September 2018

Rural Women NZ Business Awards 2017 NZI Supreme Winner Debra Cruickshank

Since winning the Supreme Award at the Rural Women New Zealand Business Awards in 2017, the year has flown by for Debra Cruickshank.

“Winning the award has made my business soar with sales, especially in port. The publicity has just been outstanding,” she said.

Debra has come a long way since she first started working at a winery after high school while being put through university by her employer. She began to see that there was a niche market for small batch wine making and DC Wines was born – a boutique winery that specialises in small-batch production.

“I love what I do here because of my clients. They’ve worked hard during the year, and what they want to do is open a beautiful bottle of their own wine.”

It’s evident that love, care and a sheer hard work is put into each batch, and Debra has seen her yearly output rise from 9 tons to 55 tons. Aside from help from family and friends during busy times, DC Wines and Cruickshank’s own label Tannacrieff is a one-woman operation – with some help from trusty ‘lab’ assistant Jade (Cruickshank’s dog).

Debra’s inspirational story was one of many reasons she was selected for the Supreme Award. Rural Women New Zealand National President, Fiona Gower, was on the judging panel and said, “We were impressed with Debra’s demonstration of a love for what she does and a focus on family, heritage and her roots.

“Debra displays a superb work ethic, skill and innovative thinking, which has provided a great foundation from which to leverage and grow the Tannacrieff Wines brand.”
Entries are now open for this year’s NZI Rural Women New Zealand Business Awards, with the addition of new categories. If you’re a rural woman in business or know an amazing woman who deserves a nomination, find out more and download entry forms at