Auckland family remarkably transforms backyard from 'cornucopia of weeds' to vineyard

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An Auckland family has transformed their backyard from a "cornucopia of noxious weeds" to a vineyard.

"Maybe growing grapes would be fun," the Sparks suggested, and along came their syrah.
Source: Seven Sharp

It started off as an idea that "would be fun" for the Sparks, but also saw them carry out the back-breaking work of building terraces - which took four years - and planting 350 syrah vines.

"Two thirds are from stones found on site, so they're real Mt Eden stones," Mike Sparks told Seven Sharp. 

"Angela was adamant not to bring in any outside soil."

One thing they did get from outside, however, was open mouths from passers-by.

"If they show a lot of interest I give them a bottle and say try it out, and see what you think," Mr Sparks said.

The family reckons their wine - dubbed Method De Maungawhau - is getting better every year, but it hasn't been entirely problem free, like the time they went camping.

"When we came back and walked out, to my horror it was a complete canopy, no rows at all, it had basically taken over," he said.

The 2016 vintage is still in the barrel and might be called "Let's make a rose" after a disappointing summer.

None of it's for sale, however, just to enjoy with friends and family.

"Angela has calculated $900 a bottle to recoup our investment - probably wouldn't get many takers at that price!"

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