Central Otago is continuing to cement its profile as a supporting actor.
The region is set to shine on the international stage once again, as the romantic comedy series Under the Vines returns for a second season before season 1 hits New Zealand prime time.
Season 1 of the six-part series streamer Acorn TV earlier this month and scheduled for release on TVNZ One next year filmed in Alexandra, Earnscleugh-Clyde, Gibbston and briefly in Dunedin, earlier this year.
Principal photography started on February 9 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.
In a social media post shared late last month of a publicity shot with her co-star Edwards, Gibney introduced the characters. “Meet Louis Oakley and Daisy Monroe London lawyer and a Sydney socialite with nothing in common other than the failing vineyard they’re about to inherit in the South Island of New Zealand,” she said.
“What could possibly go wrong? I hope you’ll fall in love with them as much as I have.”
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.
“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.
“We’re also excited to showcase Under the Vines to Kiwi viewers when season 1 screens on TVNZ One early in 2022.”