Series’ return is 'great news' for the region

Actress Rebecca Gibney on the set of Under the Vines. The Central Otago-based romantic-comedy has been renewed for a second season. Photo: Supplied
Actress Rebecca Gibney on the set of Under the Vines. The Central Otago-based romantic-comedy has been renewed for a second season. Photo: Supplied
Central Otago is continuing to cement its profile as a supporting character in film and television.

The region is set to shine on the international stage once again, as the return of romantic comedy series Under the Vines for a second season has been confirmed — even before season 1 hit New Zealand prime time.

Season 1 of the six-part series — released on AMC Networks streamer Acorn TV earlier this month and scheduled for release on TVNZ One — was filmed in Alexandra, Earnscleugh-Clyde, Gibbston and briefly in Dunedin, last year.

Principal photography started on February 9 last year and wrapped up on April 20.

The series stars Rebecca Gibney, known for her roles in Wanted and Packed to the Rafters, and Charles Edwards, who featured in The Crown and Downton Abbey.

Under the Vines follows two unlikely city slickers — loveable Sydney socialite Daisy Monroe (Gibney) and London lawyer Louis Oakley (Edwards) — who inherit a failing vineyard in rural New Zealand.

The show’s second season will have the pair continuing to navigate running their Otago winery — as well as their feelings for each other. But love, like a fine wine, has a tendency to be complex. Series publicist Tamar Munch told The News filming would start in the region in March, and was expected to last 10 weeks.

Gibney, who is also an executive producer of the series, said she was ‘‘beyond thrilled’’ a second season had been commissioned before first season had even gone to air.

‘‘To showcase not only the incredible talent here in New Zealand but the majesty of the location in the South Island was such a gift, and I have no doubt season 2 will bring as much joy and heart this time around,’’ Gibney said.

Award-winning producer Paul Yates, of Wellington Paranormal fame, will lead the series production.

He was looking forward to filming in Central Otago, he said.

‘‘The idea of making a fun romantic comedy in the heart of New Zealand’s best wine region during these tough times really appealed.’’

‘‘And [I’m] looking forward to having no spooky monsters to deal with.’’

Central Otago District Council economic development manager Nick Lanham said confirmation of the series’ return before it had even aired was a vote of confidence for everyone involved.

‘‘The filming benefits our community and we look forward to this continuing.’’

‘‘Season 1 involved a crew of 100, of which half were from the region, along with 300 extras and 4000 nights of accommodation.

‘‘There will be flow-on benefits for tourism and our iconic wine industry, the backdrop for the story, when it screens in New Zealand and abroad.’’

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said word of the series’ return was ‘‘great news’’ for the region.

‘‘Not only will the production stimulate the economy of the region during production, but the ongoing effects of it showcasing Central to the country and the world will last long after production finishes.’’

TVNZ director of content Cate Slater said co-production Under the Vines was incredible from the start.

  • Under the Vines season 1 airs on TVNZ1 and on demand.

- by Shannon Thomson

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