Pasquale Kurow Winery
The Darling Wines
The Landing Vineyard
Gillman Vineyard Limited
Lone Goat Vineyard
Riwaka River Estate
Thomas’s Bach & Batch Winery
Sugar Loaf Wines
Lindis River Wines
Bishops Head Wines
Silver Wing Wines
Kiwi Estate Wines
Earlybird Tickets (available until 29th May) - $29pp
Add On: Vertical Tasting (available until 29th May) - $29pp
VIP Lunch and entry: 12pm and 2pm - $79pp
VIP Dinner and entry: 5pm - $99pp
GA Tickets - $39pp(from 30th May - 13th June)
Add On: Vertical Tasting - $39pp (from 30th May -13th June)
Door Sales - $49pp
Animalia themed brands are not new. Right now though there seems to be uncommonly high energy levels being spent on launching wines with creatures big and small featuring in the brand names.
Fuzzy Duck Wines is an off shoot (sic) of a well-established Hawkes Bay producer. Our understanding is that this line is destined for the FMCG market, particularly the value end.
There’s two varietals currently in the safe; a merlot and a sauvignon blanc both produced from Hawkes Bay grapes. They retail for approximately $12.
We all know Central Otago is home to some of New Zealand’s most impressive high country sheep stations. The original shepherds who worked these stations have moved on but their spirit remains and now we have something more tangible and tasty too as a tribute. The Last Shepherd Central Otago Pinot Noir is a bright ruby-red, hand-crafted wine revealing a deep and delicious ripe cherry flavour spiced up with a hint of oak.
The Last Shepherd Central Otago Pinot Noir retails for $30
Ant Mackenzie Wines
Ash Ridge Wines
Beach House Wines (Wellington only)
Church Road Winery
Clearview Estate Winery
Lime Rock Wines
Mission Estate Winery
Osawa Wines (Auckland only)
Rod McDonald Wines
Stonecroft (Wellington only)
Te Awa Collection
Te Mata Estate
Tironui Wines (Auckland only)
I was sitting on the verandah of a small resort complex on one of the Tongan islands recently. Wonderful place, really sweet and helpful hosts – English couple with young kids. Around dinner time they offered me a cheap local beer. I said: “It’s my birthday so I’ll splash out on a wine,” and asked, with some trepidation given that all wine in Tonga is expensive, what wines they had. I was shown three whites: some no-name Australian pinot gris, a Gunn Estate Sauvignon Blanc and a Villa Maria Pinot Gris. I chose the Gunn Estate and my host said: “I’m so glad you didn’t choose the Villa Maria.” I asked her why. Her response: “I really like their wines but every time I visit Auckland I notice their vineyard is by an airport and I’m worried the wine may be tainted”… Bless her!
Anyway.. what’s happening…?
St Supery Winery in California initiated it and now, six years later, it’s an international celebration. April 24, 2015 marks the sixth annual International Sauvignon Blanc Day – an online initiative that started as a global social media wine tasting. This year, New Zealand Winegrowers will be leading the charge and holding events across the world to celebrate the variety that awoke the world to New Zealand wine.
Celebrations kick off in New Zealand and make their way around the globe following the sun. Sauvignon Blanc tastings and events are taking place in Melbourne, Hong Kong, Germany, London, Toronto, and New York, finishing 43 hours later at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. Restaurants, retailers and consumers - along with global wine brands - will be celebrating Sauvignon Blanc for the day and participating in the Twitter conversation by using the "hashtag" #SauvBlanc.
A huge number of wine consumers are active on social media and events such as Sauvignon Blanc Day provide great opportunities to raise awareness of New Zealand wine globally, said New Zealand Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan.
DB Breweries appoints new HR Director
DB Breweries is delighted to announce the appointment of Natasha Whiting to the role of HR Director on the Executive Team.
Managing Director, Andy Routley, says he is delighted to welcome Natasha to the DB family and looks forward to her continuing to grow the DB brand to retain and attract top talent.
“Natasha brings a wealth of senior HR experience from a wide variety of sectors including telecommunications, manufacturing, banking and building. I have no doubt that she will lead her team to continue building on the legendary DB culture, I’m sure with her own unique flair and expertise.”
Natasha joins DB from NZ Post where she was most recently Head of Talent and Capability, and says she’s excited about the opportunity to join an iconic New Zealand business with strong brand awareness and a great culture.
“I’m looking forward to building on these strong foundations and working to enable our people to continue to drive performance, innovation and create the place to be,” she adds.
Natasha replaces Brenda Milbank who leaves DB to complete her MBA.
Week of 22 March 2015
Class glass for Pinot
We weren’t there but the claim is that the glass “accentuates the aroma and taste of the region’s typical pure fruit-focussed and intense mineral style.”
I’ve listened to the sceptics but I’ve been to a couple of these Riedel glass events and I admit to giving some credence to the notion that specific glasses can make a difference to the impressions one forms of a specific drink so I’ll be eager to give it a go. If you can get your hands on one you can make your own judgement!
Bit of background……
There has been 30% growth in export sales of New Zealand Pinot Noir in the last five years and now Pinot Noir is New Zealand’s second most exported wine with 10.7 million litres exported in the 12 months to June year-end 2014. Pinot Noir is the most planted grape variety in Central Otago accounting for 77% of all plantings in the region.
Its beer didn’t go unnoticed either - the Stoke Bomber Bohemian Ale, Stoke Bomber Oatmeal Stout and Stoke Dark all received silver medals.
Bit of background……
Cider-making is believed to date back at least 2000 years, if not further, in Ireland where the industry was once supported and encouraged with preferential tax treatment.
While New Zealand’s cider-making history isn’t quite so rich, Rochdale Cider has long been a prominent player. Rochdale started at the McCashin’s brewery site in Stoke in the 1930s when there were at least four other cideries operating in the area. By the late 1970s Rochdale Cider was the only cidery still operating in New Zealand. It was purchased in 1980 by Terry and Bev McCashin and they continued to make Rochdale Cider when they started McCashin’s Brewery.
Rochdale stopped being made in 1999 and was re-started in 2009 by the second generation of McCashin brewers. The reincarnation has seen the brand pride itself on being sulphate, additive, preservative and sugar free.
End of a wild era
For the past 17 years, the Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge (MWFC) has been bringing a taste of the wild to Kiwi restaurants, bars, and bistros throughout the country. Famed for pushing boundaries and challenging diner’s perception of food and beer matching, the Monteith’s Wild Food challenge will, sadly, no longer feature on the country’s culinary calendar.
Monteith’s say: “The Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge has been a key ingredient in the brand’s history and bringing it to prominence. We’re definitely had plenty of fun along the journey, and we’re immensely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve with the Challenge over the years. However, the Monteith’s Brewing Company is evolving and we’re focussing on some great new initiatives moving forward. We genuinely appreciate the chef’s, patrons and fans who have been so supportive of the Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge since its humble beginning.”
Kerry Tyack, Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge inventor and Head Judge said: “It has been great to see the Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge unearth a plethora of audacious dishes, taking wild Kiwi food from the country’s home kitchens into the restaurant environment. The partnership between this unique approach to cooking and the art of matching it with beer has resulted in 18 years of fun, adventurous and sometime challenging opportunities for creative cooks and daring diners to embark on adventure of tempting taste and texture. There will be many disappointed chefs and diners who look forward to the annual challenge but in true Kiwi fashion they will find alternate ways to let loose their imaginative side. And they will bring with them finely honed skills to ensure that creating perfect partnerships between beer and food are better than ever.”
Bit of background……
During the past 17 years of the Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge, there was an average of 130 outlets across the country each year competing for the national title, bragging rights and of course the main prize. From 12 in the first year to a heyday number of 163 entrants the Challenge was the longest running commercial culinary competition in the country. It was the only beer and wild food restaurant challenge known of in the world and was held up by some as an example of how beer and food matching could become as successful and mainstream as wine and food pairing.
Working on the basis that everything from New Zealand is exotic in South East Asian countries, Marlborough Exotica has produced another flavour-filled Sauvignon Blanc from a single-vineyard in the Southern Valleys sub-region of Marlborough on the edge of Blenheim.
Marlborough Exotica Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc joins Exotica Manuka Liqueurs and Mead (Exotica Love Honey) already sold widely in India and other countries as well as New Zealand.
Wine commentator Peter Saunders likes it; he rated it at five star level describing it as “Clean and uncluttered, tasting close to dry and very food friendly”. It retails for $24
Bit of background……
Marlborough Exotica is owned by Darius Karani and his business partner, based in Auckland. Selling extensive New Zealand product in their Botany store, Exotica also sells a Marlborough Chardonnay and the Manuka honey products.
The Spy waits
New heights for Speights
Unique terroir inspires new Brancott Estate range
Brancott Estate has launched a new super-premium wine range, the Brancott Estate Terroir Series.
Each of the five wines in the range is made using hand-selected parcels of grapes sourced from a single sub-region in Marlborough and crafted using winemaking techniques that bring out the specific sub-regional diversity of Marlborough.
Three; Brancott Estate Terroir Series Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Brancott Estate Terroir Series Pinot Noir 2013 and Brancott Estate Terroir Series Pinot Gris 2014 – are sourced from the Awatere Valley, the most southern of the Marlborough sub-regions. The other two, the Fumé Blanc 2014 and Chardonnay 2014 – are from grapes from Brancott Vineyard located in the Southern Valleys region in Marlborough.
Recommended retail is $20
Bit of background……
Brancott Estate wines take their name from the Brancott Vineyard, home of the original Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. In 1973, Brancott Vineyard was planted with grapes, a decision that went against the popular opinion of the time that the South Island was too cold to grow grapes. In 1975, Brancott Vineyard was planted with the first Sauvignon Blanc grapes in Marlborough.
Brancott Estate is committed to sustainable practices and is a founding member of New Zealand’s original sustainable winegrowing initiative established in 1995. This programme has since transformed into Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand (SWNZ). All vineyards and wineries are accredited under the scheme.
Limited no more
Bit of background...
The Latin name for hops, Humulus Lupulus translates into “Wolf of the Woods”, Mac’s Three Wolves Pale Ale uses a combination of three hops from the US and New Zealand. Three hops – Three Wolves. Not bad for inspiration eh?
Top of the Sacred Hill
Sacred Hill has launched its Reserve range comprising five wines made with fruit from its premium blocks in Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough and positioned as a step up from the Sacred Hill Orange Label varietals. Marketing Manager Kara Biggs says Sacred Hill is launching the range with a fully integrated through the line campaign which includes above the line print advertising, a significant PR component and a range of digital initiatives including social media and website promotion as well as an in store neck tag promotion across Orange Label and Reserve.
The range includes:
· Sacred Hill Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014
· Sacred Hill Reserve Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2014
· Sacred Hill Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014
· Sacred Hill Reserve Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
· Sacred Hill Reserve Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2014
They are available from Sacred Hill Wine Company and have a recommended retail price of $24.99 for the range, excluding Syrah which is $29.99.
Bit of background……
Sacred Hill is a respected New Zealand winery foundered by David and Mark Mason, with friend and winemaker Tony Bish. It began with a simple philosophy of making more wine than they could drink, and sharing the rest. Sacred Hill has three tiers of wines, the super premium Special Selection, premium HALO and popular Orange Label made with grapes from Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough.
“Our mother is an avid bubbles fan, it’s her favourite drink,” explains daughter Victoria, the Director of Marketing for Allan Scott Family Winemakers.
“Dad decided early on that he should probably start making some bubbles or else she’d send him broke by drinking Champagne all the time – and so he created the Cecilia range, which includes a Vintage, a Rosé, and Mum’s favourite, the Brut NV.”
Nice touch guys!
Royal goings on
The Royal Easter Show Wine Awards have been announced and a gaggle of gongs handed out. Lots of happy campers around as we move rapidly into harvest season. The fastest out of the block with their press releases are listed below.
While recognition for great New Zealand wines from around the country flowed freely on the night it might be argued that the crown went to Matua.
That’s because the company won an impressive number of top awards including Trophy for Champion Wine of the Show as well as the Champion Syrah for the 2013 Matua Single Vineyard Matheson Syrah. In the Matua goodie bag were another couple of golds, 10 silver and two bronze.
To top it off Chief Winemaker Nikolai St George was named Royal Agricultural Society Gold Medal for Wine Maker of the Year, which he also won in 2013.
Matua’s been on a bit of a roll in the last six months. In September 2014 the 2013 Syrah was awarded two trophies - Champion NZ Syrah and Champion Shiraz/Syrah - at the New Zealand International Wine Show, while St George was crowned Nissan NZ Champion Winemaker of the Show. The Syrah also took the trophy for Champion Exhibition Red Wine at the 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards in November, making it a clean sweep of trophies across New Zealand’s three most prestigious wine shows and the third consecutive year that St George has been awarded Winemaker of the Year.
Alastair Maling MW – General Manager of Winemaking at Villa included some interesting comments in his acceptance speech saying we often drink our wines too young.
“If we can have the patience to hold wine or the confidence to purchase an older vintage at a restaurant, as consumers, we will have a much more pleasurable experience. Wine shows typically reward the most recent vintages. Therefore, without a category that specifically reflects on consistency of a single wine over a 10 year period, the story about aging capacity is lost. Many of New Zealand’s wines will and can age, at Villa Maria, we will release a top level wine then hold it back and re-release once it has some bottle age, something we feel benefits the growing food and wine culture within our restaurants.”
Bit of background….
The Royal Easter Show Wine Awards is New Zealand’s longest running national wine competition, held every year at the Auckland Showgrounds. In 2015 there were over 1200 entries. It presents a forum for the country’s leading winemakers, as judges, to experience first-hand the best efforts of their peers and gain knowledge to improve their own winemaking. It’s also another good resource for those compiling wine menus as to what’s hot.
Left Field, a part of the Te Awa collection is about to be re-launched next week. Watch this space.
And stand by too for an announcement from Monteiths!
Jameson bottles it up
There’s clearly no staying on the wagon where St Paddy’s Day is concerned! Together with a number of other producers, Jameson, with a greater right to claim the day than a few others we could mention, is taking the opportunity to continue its tradition of launching a special, limited edition bottle as way of celebratin! The fifth in what is becoming a long line, has been designed by Dublin-based illustrator Steve Simpson. We googled the man so we did and discovered that he’s actually quite famous and has a quirky style that frankly we quite liked. Anyway we do digress.
Simpson was told to design something evocative of Dublin and he’s done the business!
There’s not too many around – or it wouldn’t be special would it – so if you want yours front up to selected liquor retailers and hand over $65
Plenty of Latitude with Stoneleigh
In the racy wake of Stoneleigh’s sponsorship of the Volvo Ocean Series comes news of the launch of Stoneleigh Latitude Marlborough Rosé 2014. Retail it sits around the $22.50 mark and its available now for on premise sale. We’ve tried it and it’s pretty damn good. Crisp and nicely dry without being too viscous and cloying. It has a heady aroma, and a smattering of oak but texturally it’s in the same light style as other offerings in the Latitude range and will have broad appeal.
And, if you a wondering about the reference to Marlborough’s ‘Golden Mile’ in the marketing blurb let us help you. The ‘Golden Mile’ refers to a unique strip of fertile land in Marlborough covered with smooth stones left by a riverbed resulting in free draining stony soils. The stones soak up the warmth of the sun’s rays by day, and radiate that heat to help ripen the grapes by night. Wines made from fruit grown in this small area are typically distinguished by their crisp, fresh, elegant character and their hint of minerality.
In the Gunn
Looking for a classic Hawke’s Bay ‘peaches and cream’ style Chardonnay with just the right hint of spicy, smoky oak? Keep an eye out for Gunn Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2014 which we think truly hits the target. It is gently smoky on the nose, has nicely rounded body and a welcome citrus note at the end, just to keep the palate lifted. Good stuff and well-priced.
In the Framingham
The annual Framingham Harvest Concert is on this Friday 13th March. North Island based band Swamp Thing will headline the event along with local groups The Sub Regionals and Big Scout.
No wine oriented concert is worth a crumbling cork without a representation of good local food so there’s plenty of that along with Framingham’s distinctive wines and locally brewed Renaissance beer. Tickets are just $35 and are on sale now at Framingham Cellar Door, Conders Bend Rd, WINOS, Grove Rd and online at eventfinda.co.nz.
Just so you know….Record wine exports mark the start of vintage 2015
Wine exports have reached a record high and now stand at $1.37 billion, up 8.2%, propelling wine to New Zealand’s 6th biggest export good.
This strong demand in key markets bodes well for the wine industry, whose 2015 grape harvest is now underway.
Prospects for a high quality vintage are looking very positive due to the superb summer weather said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers. “The warm dry summer of 2015 has been absolutely perfect for growing and ripening grapes. As we move into autumn the prospect is for an outstanding, albeit smaller, vintage in all our grape-growing regions”.
Although the expectation is that the 2015 vintage will be significantly smaller than last year, Mr. Gregan said the sales in the year ahead will be supported by retained stocks from vintage 2014.
There’s about to be an announcement regarding the New Zealand launch later this year of Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Barossa Shiraz and Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. Watch this space…………….
While new products continue their seemingly unimpeded march into the market, resulting in gleeful gurgles from thirsty consumers up and down these Antipodean isles, it’s a perennial Irish favourite that stands to attract most attention on 17 March.
And so it should, to be sure to be sure!
Around ten million pints of Guinness are consumed around the world every day. That’s almost two billion pints a year and we suspect that a great proportion of that will slate the thirst of punters this coming St Patrick’s Day – as it’s done every year since – well, who can truly remember?
While it’s not ever likely to be toppled from its perch as the most popular drink to celebrate the day when two Irish icons come - like Winston Peters and Zimmer frames - appropriately together, it’s good to pocket a few facts useful for bringing out when any interesting conversation about the English cricket team runs out.
For example; did you know?
News of the new….
Mac’s has launched a of range cider that aims (they claim) to be a little ‘out of the ordinary’.
In the mix are intriguing and possibly challenging flavour combos, like chilli and lime, blood orange and cardamom, cranberry and ginger, and cloudy apple.
If you are not in the habit of carrying a culinary dictionary in your handbag or have yet to download the what’s that taste app, you may find the flavour scale used on the Macs beer bottles and replicated on the cider useful. The ready reckoner which gives a range from one to seven on the side of each bottle aims to help you choose a cider that best suits your tastes.
The Cloudy Apple Cider sits at a cool number two on the flavour scale whereas at the other end of spectrum sitting at five on the ladder and delivering a more intense flavour experience is the Chilli and Lime variant. The others all sit somewhere in between. Of course you could simply start with Number two and work your way through the list making tasting notes as you go, which I suggest may be a challenge akin to trying to out-putt a blindfolded Lydia Ko.
The new Ciders are sold individually and have an RRP of $5.99 per 568ml bottle. They are also available on tap in selected outlets.
And left of field
A curiously verbose media release has not dulled our interest in the release into local and UK markets of the Left Field range of wines from the Te Awa collection. We haven’t tried them yet but the skillful Richard Painter and Ant Mckenzie lead the winemaking team and if that’s any clue this new release will have palate interest to match the artful presentation of the labels, designed by Aaron Pollock.
Easter Show Wine Awards 2015:
· Mission Estate Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2013
· Mission Estate Reserve Syrah 2013
· Mission Estate Chardonnay 2014
· Mission Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
· Mission Estate Cabernet Franc 2013
China Wine & Spirits Awards 2015:
Double Gold Medal
· Mission Estate Pinot Noir 2013
· Mission Estate Cabernet Merlot 2013
· Mission Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2013
· Mission Reserve Syrah 2013
· Mission Estate Gewurztraminer 2013
· Mission Estate Chardonnay 2013
· Mission Estate Merlot 2013
· Mission Estate Pinot Gris 2014
Sacred Hill’s newly released 2014 Orange Label Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are a perfect example of why New Zealand wine lovers have never had it better.
The delicious duo showcase the fruit of the stellar 2014 vintage and Sacred Hill Managing Director David Mason says the wines from this vintage are very special given the quality and value they represent.
“With our Orange Label range we aim to produce tempting, quality wines from specially selected vineyards in Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough that are ideal to share with family and friends” Mason says.
“The conditions we were blessed with in 2014 have resulted in an Orange Label Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that punch well above their weight and won’t break the bank. They are well worth taking time out to savour.”
Sacred Hill senior winemaker Tony Bish says these new releases represent two of Sacred Hill’s most popular varietals from an amazing vintage.
“The 2014 vintage is another for lovers of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to relish – as good as, if not better than, 2013,” Bish says.
Available: Tap, 6 pack (330ml bottles)
On tap at the following outlets:
• 16 Tun
• Brew On Quay
• My Bar
• Silo Park
• Little George Hamilton
• Momento Expresso (MoCity)
• The Hop Garden
• Fork & Brewer
• The Third Eye
• Eureka Cafe & Bar
• Tahi Bar - Warkworth
• Hot Water Brewing - Whitianga
• Coromandel Brewing - Whitianga
• Major Tom's - Mt Maunganui
• Vaudeville Bar - Mt Maunganui
• Brew Pub - Rotorua
• Brew Pub - Tauranga
• The Lake House - Taupo
• Westshore Beach Inn - Hawkes Bay
• The Hour Glass - New Plymouth
• The Village Inn Kitchen - Palmerston North
• DeVille Cafe - Nelson
• Argosy - Blenheim
• Kai Whakapai - Wanaka