AGM, August tasting

AGM

Robin Semmens presented with a wine box set from Wayne Kennedy
Robin Semmens presented with a wine box set from Wayne Kennedy

Last month we were finally able to hold the Club’s AGM and it was well attended with 32  members and 1 guest present. If you would like to read the President’s report, you will find this on the Club’s website. Changes to note from the meeting:

  • Robin Semmens was farewelled from the Committee and as newsletter Editor,
    although he stays in the Club
  • Evelyn Dawson is the new Editor of the Newsletter
  • Steve Eades is now not on the Committee either but is still managing the Club’s website
  • Terry Friel joined the Committee.

August tasting

We are meeting as usual on 12 August at the Johnsonville Community Hall, Ground Floor for an 8 pm starts with Confidant Wines, a small (boutique) local importer of Portuguese wines in Wellington distributing the well-regarded Casa Santos Lima winery and a range of notable NZ wineries that are available in selected retail outlets and a number of Wellington restaurants.

Victor Kattenbelt has been around the Wellington wine scene for a number of years and travels to Europe every year (even early 2020), for wine trade expos in France, Netherlands and Germany, and to visit his suppliers in Portugal.

Victor’s Portuguese portfolio is extensive, and some of his wines this time round are new to his portfolio and we have decided to expand the tasting to 8 wines for the tasting to do justice to his wide range and to celebrate our European tasting country of the year.

If you are interested in doing more reading see Casa Santos Lima winery. The wines for the evening are:

  • A Portuguese bubble – Casa Santos Bruto [NV] to begin the evening
  • 2018 Galodoro Rose
  • 2016 VK Gewurztraminer (NZ)
  • 2018 Linden Estate Chardonnay (NZ)
  • Then an array of 4 unique Portuguese reds:
    • 2017 Bons Ventos
    • 2017 Confidencial Red
    • 2018 Valcatrina
    • and to finish a superb Alicante Bouschet premium red

The member door price will be $15 and guest price $18.

Wine with Wings

By Walt Dickson. First published in Wairarapa Lifestyle Magazine, Winter 2020.

New owner of Gladstone Vineyard Eddie McDougall, also known as the Flying Winemaker. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN
The new owner of Gladstone Vineyard Eddie McDougall, also known as the Flying Winemaker. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN

Contrary to what the name might suggest, The Flying Winemaker doesn’t own a plane, nor does he hold a pilot’s licence. But there is sincerity in Eddie McDougall’s moniker, yes, he does literally jet in to make the wine.

Born in Hong Kong, based in Australia, Eddie might be relatively new on the scene in Wairarapa, but he is an established name in other parts of the world; an award-winning winemaker, chairman of the Asian Wine Review, wine judge and TV personality behind one of Asia-Pacific’s most dynamic wine brands, The Flying Winemaker.

He swooped into the region in late 2018 buying the Gladstone Vineyard with lofty ambitions to make the best and most expensive wine in New Zealand.

Last year, his first vintage, he made two special wines at Gladstone that he says, will turn heads when they’re released: a field blend of three aromatic white varietals and an icon Pinot Noir that will be positioned as ‘New Zealand’s most expensive wine and best pinot’.

Eddie grew up in Brisbane and was studying for a business degree and working as a waiter in the early 2000s when he had a wine epiphany one night. Someone handed him a glass of Alsace pinot blanc and he was hooked. He enrolled in a winemaking degree and worked vintages across Australia and Italy. In 2009, he launched his wine label, making wine in the King Valley (Victoria), and later, Margaret River (Western Australia), buying fruit and leasing space in other people’s wineries.

His big break came in 2009, when he moved back to Hong Kong to set up the city’s first urban winery, shipping frozen grapes in from Europe and Australia. That’s when he earned his Flying Winemaker name, attracting the attention of television producers. Fast-track to 2018 and he was again looking for opportunities, initially in Australia, but when nothing caught his fancy, he looked across the Tasman.

‘I was happy to go wherever good wine is made, and Gladstone ticked all the right boxes

Making it such a great acquisition was that at Gladstone, all the ‘really hard work’ has been done, he says. ‘We believe that it is still the oldest white wine vineyard in the area – the first Sauvignon Blanc grapes were planted in 1986’.

Pinot Gris and Riesling have also since been planted, and instead of making three wines, Eddie makes a blend of all three.

‘Coming here we want to represent the region, and on a brand, level to represent what our true unique selling point is …we think we can make some serious, serious wines’.

In addition to the winery site, Gladstone Vineyard also owns considerably larger blocks of vines at nearby Dakin Road, as well as leasing crops from other growers. It is from the Dakins Road block that Eddie hopes to produce his icon Pinot Noir – to be called The Wairarapa – which he says will be the most definitive wine of the region, only made in the best possible years, 2019 is one of them.

The Flying Winemaker Team
The Flying Winemaker Team

With a global team based in Hong Kong and currently exporting throughout Asia, Australia, Norway, UK and USA, the sky is the limit. But he is not ignoring the domestic market and is determined to continue Gladstone Vineyard’s reputation for hosting terrific events.

Building on the success of the nearby Harvest Festive, Eddie aims to run up to four events a year at the winery. Exactly what they will be and when, wine lovers won’t want to miss out if his super cool Rose’ Revolutions, a mainstay on the calendar in Asia, are anything to go by.

Meanwhile, if you are in the neighbourhood, the cellar door is open daily from 11 am – 5 pm (except public holidays), but don’t expect to see Eddie, after all, when you have wings you gotta fly.

For more on Eddie, visit The Flying Winemaker.

For more on Wairarapa winemakers, visit www.wairarapalifestyle.com.

Upcoming events, An invitation

Upcoming events

  • Wednesday 12 August – Victor Kattenbelt of Confidant Wines
  • Wednesday 16 September – Alan Evans and Ageing of quality wines
  • Wednesday 21 October – St Clair Family Estate, Marlborough
  • Wednesday 18 November – Club Anniversary dinner at Bellamy’s (run by Logan Brown)
  • December tbc

An invitation

Now that we’re past the shortest day/longest night of the year for this Equinox, if anyone would like supply a short article about their ‘Drop of the Day’, i.e. their go-to wine for this season, to share with the rest of the Club, please feel free to submit it.

Crater Rim Tasting Review Jun 2020

From the Ashes Range
Premium Range
Icon Range

39 members attended for the evening and orders for the wine & 5 cookbooks exceeded $3K which is one of our more successful orders.

An interesting note from our orders is that the 2019 Wairarapa Viognier was the preferred wine, with 2018 From the Ashes Riesling second. The Viognier also illustrates how they grow grapes and bottle wine from various areas around NZ, even though they are based in North Canterbury.

The list of wines we sampled during the evening for your recollection is below:

  • 2017 Waipara Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2018 From the Ashes Riesling
  • 2019 From the Ashes Pinot Gris
  • 2019 Waipara Viognier
  • 2018 Waipara Chardonnay
  • 2019 Waipara Rosé
  • 2019 From the Ashes Pinot Noir
  • 2015 Banks “Rata” Pinot Noir

How Natural Wine Became a Symbol of Virtuous Consumption

The mainstreaming of natural wines has brought niche winemakers capital and celebrity, as well as questions about their personalities and politics.

By Rachel Monroe | From November 25, 2019 Issue of the American Chronicles.

Winemaking methods that once seemed suspect now look like authenticity.Illustration by Greg Clarke
Winemaking methods that once seemed suspect now look like authenticity.Illustration by Greg Clarke

In 2010, Dani Rozman had just graduated from the University of Wisconsin. He was so deliberate and thoughtful that his friends claimed it was inevitable that he’d end up a history professor with a closet full of cardigans. But Rozman went to Argentina instead, and wound up in Mendoza, the hub of the country’s wine scene, working at a startup that helped wealthy people realize their wine dreams—you could buy a vineyard from afar, have someone else farm it, design the labels, and receive cases of “your” wine to show off at dinner parties.

One summer, Rozman went to Itata, at the southern tip of Chile’s wine-producing region, to work the grape harvest at a local winery. He had the impression that winemakers were like the clean-cut guys in Napa with family money and fleece vests. Itata was different. The winery was just a shipping container and a mesh tent, and the work was non-stop. Rozman had grown up in a health-conscious family that nonetheless “had to be reminded that food was farmed,” he said; being in daily contact with plants felt revelatory. Some of the vines had been planted centuries earlier, by conquistadores and missionaries. The grapes were País, a varietal that had fallen out of favour as winemakers turned to popular ones like Cabernet Sauvignon. The methods were traditional, too—the fruit was picked by hand, destemmed with a bamboo implement called a zaranda, then fermented in clay pots. The finished product was startling, in a good way. “At that time in Argentina, Malbec was king,” Rozman told me. The country made lots of homogeneous, high-alcohol wines aged in oak barrels, catering to international appetites—“the French-consultant thing,” as Rozman put it. To him, they tasted heavy and expressionless, while the Itata wines were stripped down and elemental. “It was like night and day,” he said.

Artisanal wines had already found a following in European and Japanese cities and were beginning to win converts in the United States, too. Their novelty lay precisely in the makers’ veneration of tradition, their rejection of the high-tech methods that many conventional vintners relied on. The wines were typically made with organic grapes, using no added yeast, no filtration, no chemical additives, no new oak barrels, no mechanical manipulations. The wines were variously described as low-intervention, naked, or raw; the term that eventually stuck was “natural.”

In the past few years, natural wines have acquired a hipster cachet, with natural-wine bars popping up in cities from Seattle to Kansas City and Helena, Montana. Kasimir Bujak, a buyer for the Wine Source, a store in Baltimore, told me, “It’s a trickle-down effect from Brooklyn—and that means people in Columbus are going to be drinking it next.”

Rozman said, “Ten years ago, people in their twenties weren’t hanging out at wine bars. Now they’re packed.” In the Napa boom of the nineteen-nineties, consumers prized wines that were rich and flawless. Now they’re seeking out wines that are more expressive than correct; wines that are earthy, with visible sediment; wines that taste alive.

Read the full story on the New Yorker website.

Project to explore turning waste into hand sanitiser

Maia Hart, May 26 2020 | stuff.co.nz

The stems and seeds leftover after pressing left grape marc, which in Marlborough was around 46,000 tonnes of waste a year. | STUFF
The stems and seeds leftover after pressing left grape marc, which in Marlborough was around 46,000 tonnes of waste a year. | STUFF

Turning waste into hand sanitiser is the next project for a research winery based in Marlborough.

The Ministry of Business and Innovation (MBIE) has awarded $84,700 in funding to Bragato Research Institute (BRI) for a pilot study exploring turning grape marc into hand sanitiser.

Grape marc is the stems and seeds leftover after pressing – which in Marlborough can total as much as 46,000 tonnes of waste per year.

The study would look to turn winery waste into ethanol. Any sanitiser made in the initial eight-month study would be bottled and donated to Marlborough health workers and first responders.

Bragato Research Institute chief executive MJ Loza said the industry was continuously looking at alternative uses for grape marc, and Covid-19 presented BRI with “an opportunity to learn more about its properties while exploring a potential business case for a new product”.

Bragato Research Institute chief executive MJ Loza said the industry was continuously looking at alternative uses for grape marc. | SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
Bragato Research Institute chief executive MJ Loza said the industry was continuously looking at alternative uses for grape marc. | SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

“Using winery waste to produce ethanol for hand sanitiser is untested in the New Zealand context with our varietals. We haven’t had the capability to conduct a study like this in New Zealand until now,” Loza said.

“Managing grape marc has probably been viewed as a disposal issue. However, the marc itself is increasingly being studied for other properties.

“Transforming the wine industry’s waste into a value stream is a research priority. Every time we study grape marc, we learn a little more about its potential for a new commercial product.”

In the long term, the project would explore the business opportunity for the industry to turn waste into sanitiser, which would include “more information on costs, the infrastructure needed and technical findings specific to grape marc produced in New Zealand”.

“We know that grape marc is rich in valuable compounds. The challenges lie in finding a new economy for grape marc without creating a bigger environmental footprint, as well as finding a financially viable market for a new product,” Loza said.

Bragato Research Institute trials winemaking equipment, technologies and processes. | SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
Bragato Research Institute trials winemaking equipment, technologies and processes. | SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF

Funding for the project was secured through MBIE’s Covid-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund, which was created to support research and projects in covid responses, and provide support to develop and deploy products, processes and services.

The project would be led by winery research manager Dr Tanya Rutan and research programme manager Dr Matias Kinzurik.

Bragato officially opened their research winery in February, based at the Blenheim campus of Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

The new facility will trial winemaking equipment, technologies and processes as well as sustainable winery operations.

It will also provide commercial research winemaking services to suppliers and the industry.

Glasses roster & screwcaps

Glasses roster

Thank you to all those who have volunteered to be part of the glasses roster.
our glasses roster will resume when the monthly meetings resume.

Screwcaps

Of course, we still welcome any screw caps you have managed to collect, remembering that the cause that benefits is kidney kids nz and their families.

Coming events

  • Wednesday 12 August – to be confirmed
  • Wednesday 9 September – to be confirmed
  • Wednesday 14 October – St Clair

Note:  Arrangements are well in hand for August and September so don’t be alarmed.  We will provide details as soon as possible.  Both will be great events, trust us.

AGM – July 2020

Cellar Club Inc – Annual General Meeting
The Cellar Club Inc Annual General Meeting will be held as follows:

When: 8 pm Wednesday 8 July 2020
Where: Johnsonville Community Centre
Moorefield Road, Wellington

Please give some thought to any proposals you might want to introduce for the meeting, we are happy to take ideas from members about future activities for the Club.

As always members will have the opportunity to sample some wines from our cellar after the formal part of the evening. Hopefully, this can be something special. Not clear yet as to whether we can provide a supper. Your committee will investigate this in the next wee while.

See AGM event details.

Latest updates, dinner, Wairarapa trip, new editor & retiring editor

Latest updates

We hope all members are coming out of the hibernation that was COVID19 lockdown levels 4-3 and are looking forward to some normality re-energising their lives.  We are now allowed to meet and lots happening so let me set things out for you.  Firstly a major change is planned with Evelyn Dawson taking over the Editorship of your Newsletter.  Evelyn has other commitments and will not be joining the committee, we are however, very keen to seek a new member or two into the committee with both Steve and Robin withdrawing.  Think about it, please.

Evelyn Dawson (New editor)

The Minister of Wine and Cheese
Fletcher, David, 1952: I’ve been told to stop trivialising the work of politicians…

As everyone will realise we have been through strange and challenging times in recent weeks with the Cellar Club being in suspension.  As people have sat in isolation and reviewed the meaning of life I have had an epiphany.  I want to be the Editor of the Club’s Newsletter.  The following are a couple of Club issues we need to deal with.

No mid-year dinner

There will be no July Dinner but instead, the AGM has been deferred until July. See “Looking Forward” for detail.  Organising a dinner in the current somewhat fluid “Level” system is just too difficult.  We do have planning well in hand for our celebration dinner in November which will be special and should compensate.  More later on that.

Wairarapa trip & alternatives

We were all a bit sad that Covid19 meant that the planned Wairarapa trip in March could not proceed. We have been looking at alternatives and we are currently working on a deferment until February 2021.  We will continue to work on this alternative and will keep you all informed.

Robin (retiring editor)

Robin, Pat and grandkids. 2015
Robin, Pat and grandkids. 2015

You will note that I am relinquishing my role as your Newsletter Editor.  I am also looking to stand down as a committee member and would love it if someone else would put up their hand for a turn.  I have always believed that a little “churn” in committee membership allows for the introduction of variety and new ideas. I have been on the committee for 20 years and Editor for 9.  Time for a change.  I will continue to be a member of the club.  Far too much good wine yet to be tasted to give up that privilege.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the committee and very much appreciate the support I have received over the years.  Best wishes for the continued success of the Club.

The Crater Rim – June 2020

The Crater Rim Ltd is a family-owned boutique winery situated in the rolling hills of Waipara, in the South Island of New Zealand.  They grow, make and market limited quantities of terroir-specific wines produced from their own two vineyards and contracted sites in the Canterbury sub-regions of Waipara, Omihi and Banks Peninsula and in Central Otago.

These sites have been carefully selected for their particular mix of varietal, topography, soil and microclimate – creating high quality, site-specific wines of individual character and drinkability.  The Crater Rim manage their own vineyards and work closely with each grower to ensure that vines are cropped low and managed sustainably, guaranteeing the best quality fruit possible from each vineyard site.

The Crater Rim from above

The result is exceptional wines from exceptional regions. So many good wines that we may try 8 for the tasting. Remember to drink sensibly if you are driving.

Lyn is a Sales Rep who works independently and has represented The Crater Rim for just over 3 years. She says “They are a wonderful family and team to work with and I have grown their brand extensively in the top of the South Island and the lower North Island.  As mentioned previously, her background is in retail and marketing, but she thoroughly enjoys both marketing and drinking the Crater Rim product.

Because of uncertainty about recommencing our programme, and with Lyn making the appropriate arrangements, we are not able to be definite about the wines to be tasted.   They will be chosen from the range produced by Crater Rim including their “From the Ashes” and Waipara ranges plus maybe one or two of the icon brands.

By the time we meet, hopefully, social distancing will be a thing of the past.  We do however ask members to respect other people’s space and avoid close contact where possible.  Will be great to get back into the tasting groove.