Lots of news from Ash Ridge

With another great vintage in the winery, we can all take a small breath and focus on having a little bit of downtime, and enjoying some older vintages! As always, there are lots of new things happening at the winery, and more to come, here are the current highlights.

Online Ordering is now live

New York Brownie with Raspberry Compote

As promised you can now go to our website http://www.ashridgewines.co.nz, and order online. Get your wine club discount of 25% by simply using ASHRIDGECLUB181 in the coupon code. We have updated the site with all of our current release wines. Hopefully, this will make life more convenient for you. We aim to have orders dispatched within 24 hours. If you prefer to order via email, simply send me the details to cellar@ashridgewines.co.nz.

As the home of Ash Ridge our cellar door has been a major focus, and we are constantly upgrading everything we do. The latest change is the new menu we have just launched. We are moving to a more Bistro style menu with entree, main and dessert options. So if you feel like a treat please book in for a lunch! Please remember that as a Wine Club member you get 25% off food as well as wine.

Functions and Weddings

Our new facility really opens up a myriad of options for us and you. The new building capacity is 100 people, so we can host functions for much larger groups in beautiful and comfortable surroundings. Our dining area allows for group sizes of 40-45 people seated, and we are also looking at hosting weddings. We are licensed until 10 pm, so we are able to accommodate evening functions as well.

If you have any interest in any of these options, please contact me at cellar@ashridgewines.co.nz.

Wine Boxes all now sent

We have completed the May deliveries. Thank you for your patience, we have tried to ensure that all packages have been delivered in a timely manner through Toll, but if for any reason your box has not arrived please contact me at cellar@ashridgewines.co.nz, and we will hunt down the delivery.

I really want to thank you, everyone, for all your support. As a small winery, we can only do what we do with your ongoing support. In a world were access to retail channels is becoming harder and harder, having the direct support of wine lovers is what keeps us going, and we appreciate your current and ongoing support.

Chris and the Team at Ash Ridge.

French vineyard was a tarnished asset when it was sold on a handshake – now it’s a $1b superstar

Devon Pendleton | May 16, 2018

Chateau Margaux dates from 1812; the property, now owned by Corinne Mentzelopoulos, has been a wine estate since the 18th century.

When her father died in 1980, Corinne Mentzelopoulos inherited a business empire that included 1600 grocery stores, 80 buildings in central Paris, a hotel that was once the home of Louis XIV-and a run-down vineyard the family had purchased almost on a whim three years earlier.

Today, the vineyard has made her a billionaire. It’s Chateau Margaux, one of just a handful of properties that can claim the prized Premier Cru designation bestowed by Napoleon III in 1855 upon Bordeaux’s very best terroirs for making wine.

Continue reading “French vineyard was a tarnished asset when it was sold on a handshake – now it’s a $1b superstar”

Have you heard – The Bottle of Wine Parable

Huang Chan was a very rich man who was deliberately tough on his farmhand, Wong. Huang Chan gave Wong a bottle and said, ‘Buy me a bottle of wine.’ Wong, the poor farmhand enquired, ‘How can I buy you wine with no money at all?’ Huang Chan replied disdainfully, ‘Anyone can buy wine with money. It takes real skill to buy wine without money.’

Time elapsed and Wong eventually returned with the empty bottle. He handed the bottle to Huang Chan and murmured, ‘Enjoy the wine, please.’

Staring at the empty bottle with some dismay, Huang asked, ‘There is no wine, how can I enjoy this?’ Wong replied to Huang Chan, with a straight face, ‘Anyone can enjoy wine if there is some but it takes real skill to enjoy wine when there is none.’

(Not sure that this would be a skill I would seek to develop. Ed)

Mid Year Dinner – Saigon Van Grill Bar – July 2018

We are going to try a change of pace with a Vietnamese offering for the mid-year dinner. This is a well-respected establishment and many members have enjoyed well-respectedThe response at the AGM was very positive and we are sure that the event will be well supported by members. More detail in the next newsletter.

AGM – May 2018

25 people attended the AGM. The meeting was not prolonged and quickly dealt with the issues at hand. It was, as ever, followed by a good supper with a great range of items. The wine wasn’t bad either. The tray of mixed club sandwiches was a hit again this year. Sausage rolls were a good substitution for the cheerios this year.

Cecilia in 2009 in her President’s role.

Matters discussed at the meeting including the possibility of co-opting a member on to the committee for a short time or for a specific task and having certain jobs, such as the newsletter editor, as ex-officio. The current committee was returned unopposed.

And a highlight was the passing of a motion that Cecilia Parker is made a life member after many years contributing in a number of roles. Congratulations Cecilia.

Robyn’s return, Payment advice, President’s Report & Financial Statement

Robyn’s return

It wasn’t overwarm in Sydney while we were there but I must say I don’t think I have been warm since our return. Never mind the tasting this month should go some way to warm the cockles of the heart. I have it on good authority that the AGM went well in my absence, and it is a pleasure to have Cecilia join in the ranks of our life members.

Payment advice

Please find attached a PaymentAdviceforJune2018 for this month’s meeting. The form provides an opportunity to pay your membership subscription, entry fee for the June tasting and the July Dinner. Please bring this with you next week (completed of course) or contact Wayne by email.

President’s Report & Financial Statement

I would like to remind members that if you are interested in looking at the President’s Report or Financial Statement from the AGM, they can be found on the club website.

Robin Semmens, Editor

It’s Official: French Fries Pair Best with Champagne

Moët & Chandon calls the salty, crunchy snack one of the best things to eat with bubbly, and our wine editor agrees.

Mike Pomranz | April 19, 2018

Everyone likes Champagne—if only because it’s the quintessential, upmarket celebratory drink. But for that exact reason, some people can be unsure when to drink Champagne. Weddings, graduations and holidays are obvious choices. And if you’re Biggie Smalls, when you’re thirsty also qualifies. But is ordering Champagne during an otherwise ordinary meal posh or just pretentious?

For bigtime Champagne producers like Moët & Chandon, this question is about more than just image: moving more Champagne boosts their bottom line. So clearly, it behooves the brand to remind drinkers that you don’t need to wait until your golden anniversary to pop a bottle of Brut. Along those lines, Marie-Christine Osselin, Moët & Chandon’s wine quality and communication manager, recently told The Drinks Business that one of the best possible pairings for bubbly is one of the most common sides on the planet: French fries.

According to Osselin, Champagne’s acidity and bubbles make for an excellent complement to fries saltiness and crunch. In fact, regardless of whether the cuisine is low-brow or high-brow, Osselin insisted that simplicity is the key. “Champagne is a wine that asks for simple ingredients, no more than three,” she was quoted as saying.

Of course, it’s easy to be skeptical: If you were trying to move $50 bottles of wine, you’d probably say they pair well with every food under the sun. But Food & Wine wine editor/guru Ray Isle actually completely agrees with Osselin’s assertion. “I’ve been saying this for years, as have many, many sommeliers,” he explained.

“Basically, salt and fat plus high acid and bubbles equals a great combo,” Isle continued, giving Champagne and French fries the mathematical treatment. “Fries, potato chips—hell—fried pork rinds would work too. But I don’t think you’re going to get the folks at Moët to suggest pairing their champagne with fried pork rinds—that’s too down-home for them, for sure.”

Moët won’t say it, but apparently we will. Grab your Champagne and pork rinds! Is it college football season yet?!

Unison Vineyard – Terry Horn – May 2018

Unison Vineyard is a Family Estate at the heart of the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District in Hawkes Bay. It was established in 1993 and specialises in fine wines.

Due to the consistency over the years in high-quality fine wines, Unison Vineyard has been rated by Jancis Robinson (Concise Wine Companion) as one of 28 up-and-coming producers worldwide “… whose success seems most obvious to me at the beginning of the 21st century …” – the only winery in NZ which has received this accolade.

Unison Vineyard is a Family Estate run by professional husband and wife team Philip and Terry Horn. Joining them are the boys, Luke and Oliver together with cats Olive and Pip. More detail next month but this is sure to be a great tasting.

A tour of Europe through wines – Macvine International – April 2018

A ghastly night weather wise and a long list of apologies through autumn ailments meant that the turnout for this tasting was a little lower than we had hoped for. Despite that, those who braved the conditions enjoyed an excellent presentation and some great wines. Simon Bell and Craig O’Donnell from Macvine International presented for this tour around Europe. The tasting was a little different from the usual but was done with great style and enthusiasm. The wines presented were not necessarily well-known wines from Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. Simon and Craig enjoyed the evening and expressed a keenness to return in the future.

The tour included the following wines:

Andre Delorme Methode BDB (France)
Pazo Cilleiro Albarino (Spain)
Bernard Defaix 2015 Cote de Lechet Chablis (France)
Cantina Terlan Lagrein (Italy)
Dourthe No 1 Rouge (France)
Alpha Zeta “V” Valpolicella Ripaso Superiore (Italy)
1994 Burgermeister Lauer Drohner Hofberger Riesling (Germany)

AGM, Quote, Tastings


Attached to this Newsletter you will find the minutes from the 2017 AGM. The President and Treasurer will present their reports on the night and details will subsequently be made available on the Club’s website for those who might be interested. This is your club and the AGM does offer an opportunity to have your say and/or raise matters of interest. If you have ideas or thoughts to offer please don’t be shy to raise them.


While travelling in Hawkes Bay and visiting wineries (purely for research purposes you understand) Anne and Jenny came across the following quote. “anything is possible with a little lipstick and a great glass of wine.” Personally I will skip the lipstick and cut straight to the chase


They also came across a couple of Hawkes Bay producers keen to present to the Club and as a consequence we have Unison for June and Clearwater for August. This will give members an opportunity to compare wines from a producer from the Gimblett Gravels area and one of the equally excellent producers from the more coastal Te Awanga area. Much to look forward to over the next few months.

Robin Semmens, Editor

Hawke’s Bay Wine – Autumn/Winter edition

Click cover image to view the autumn & winter issue. Opens in a new tab
Click cover image to view the autumn & winter issue. Opens in a new tab.

Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers presents your digital issue of Hawke’s Bay Wine – Autumn/Winter edition

  • Studying Syrah berry size
  • Turning vision into reality – a business strategy for Hawke’s Bay Wine
  • Ngaruroro WCO – cautious optimism

In every issue we profile Hawke’s Bay Wine companies and personalities, wine from our region and associated sectors. We offer up a number of informed viewpoints, cover the news and present a range of wine-related feature stories.

Do you have news relating to Hawke’s Bay Wine Sector?
Email: hawkesbaywinemag@xtra.co.nz.

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