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Winning the Supreme award at the Enterprising Rural Women Awards in Invercargill recently, Ms Cruikshank was overwhelmed.
The Tannacrieff Wines and DC Wines owner, as she puts it, sort of fell into winemaking.
From day one on her journey with her own business, she knew she had to create a niche market and she has done just that.
"Everything I’ve done, I’ve learned along the way."
It is only a small business, so Ms Cruikshank puts her hand to everything and at busy times of the year turns into a bit of a superwoman.
Trying her hand with port, her most recent venture, she has had to teach herself a lot, she said.
"Google is a fabulous thing."
Ms Cruikshank said she would never have been able to succeed in the way she had if it wasn’t for the support of her friends and family.
"I never imagined DC Wines to be going this well ... At the beginning of my winemaking journey, I never thought I would be growing this big or this fast."
As a vastly independent woman with her assistant Labrador Jade, her friends and family meant the world to her, she said.
The next step is moving herself, her equipment and Jade to Bannockburn, where she is building a winery and, eventually, a wine-tasting facility.
Her advice to others in business: "Whatever you do, be different. And it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty, there is always room for more wine."
Other winners included Hammond Davidson Ltd, an accountancy firm in Riversdale, which won the Innovative Enterprising Rural Women Award.
Owners Kylie Davidson and Emma Hammond had built the business from the grass roots up.The majority of their clients were farmers or related to the farming sector.
Mrs Davidson said the pair enjoyed the fact that clients could kick their boots off at the door.
"I’m passionate about helping people meet their goals," she said.
Mrs Hammond said outside their own business, they were always wanting to help out in the community.
"Winning this award, we can share our story with other other rural women."
Other winners of the Enterprising Rural Women Awards were Kiri Elworthy and Jenny Bargh, of Tora Coastal Walk, Martinborough, who won the Love of the Land award; and Jo Kempton, of Happy Belly Ferments, Greytown, who won the Emerging Enterprising Rural Women Award.