Future event for the club in late 2020 and into 2021 is packed with a range of presenters and no less than three food and wine events .
November 18th – – Our 40th Anniversary dinner at Bellamy’s (run by Logan Brown) at the Beehive
The first Club meeting was held in the month of November. To recognise that historic milestone, a celebratory dinner has been arranged, to be held at Bellamy’s by Logan Brown at their restaurant in the Beehive. This is set down for Wednesday 18 November, so check your diaries for availability.
Details will be sent out shortly, asking for your registration and to make your selection from the accompanying menu. As for any such venue, there will be a limit on numbers which means you should register quickly to secure your place.
The food promises to be of very high quality. So, book your place and go dig around in your wine stocks to find the special bottle (or two) that you think will go best with your selection to bring with you.
Your Committee is excited about this event and is sure you will be too.
December 9th –A Fun evening with CoLab, Simon Bell
January: BBQ at Derek’s
February: Coney’s for the 13th February 2021 – our postponed 40thanniversary outing to the Wairarapa [to include visits to Palliser and Grave/Alana]
14th October – This month we have Saint Clair Family Estate from Marlborough with Alison Downs presenting.
Saint Clair Family Estate was established by Neal and Judy Ibbotson in 1994, having been viticulture pioneers in Marlborough since 1978. From their first vintage, when all their wines won medals, including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today.
Saint Clair is 100% family-owned, with the next generation also involved in the day-to-day running of the company.
Daughters Sarina and Julie both work within the business in sales and marketing after studying wine business marketing at Adelaide and have a vast knowledge of the wine industry. Son Tony is responsible for the design of all Saint Clair’s packaging, promotional material and advertising. He owns a design consultancy business, the Creative Method, in Sydney. Tony designed the original Saint Clair labels back in 1994 when he was a student and has been refining and expanding the range of Saint Clair labels ever since.
Our mission is to create world-class wines that exceed their customers’ every expectation.
2019 Saint Clair Origin Pinot Gris Rosé
2018Saint Clair Pioneer Block 28 Pinot Blanc
2019 Saint Clair Origin Hawke’s Bay Viognier
2019 Saint Clair Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
2019 Saint Clair James Sinclair Chardonnay
2018 Saint Clair Pioneer Block 22 Pioneer Block Pinot Noir
2017 Saint Clair Origin Hawke’s Bay Merlot
Book it in now – Tasting: 14th October, starts at 8pm J’ville Community Centre – look out for our sign outside
As COVID-19 has altered the way both businesses and functions operate NZ-wide this year and next, the Hawkes Bay’s Winter FAWC celebrations were altered too.
FAWC notified all their regular attendees of a new event which was ‘FAWC Night In’. This was to be for an hour, 5-6 pm, on Saturday 15th August.
‘Gather up to 10 of our friends for an exclusive evening of excellent wine, delicious canapes and fantastic banter beaming right into your living room.’
The cost for people joining in for the virtual wine tasting was $250.00 for the hamper that held the contents for the tasting – this included five bottles of wine and the ingredients for the carefully matched canapes from the iconic Hawkes’s Bay Farmers’ Market and suppliers.
‘To discover the flavours of each of the wines, why different varietals have excelled in the varied terrain of Hawke’s Bay and to enjoy the witty tete-a-tete from the industry insiders.’
Our hamper arrived the Thursday before the event, and we refrigerated what contents needed to be in anticipation of Saturday! Along with the zoom meeting invite for the event.
So, we had:
5 x 75ml pours of wine
5 x bite-sized canapes
We had a lot of fun with this new format being tried out by region’s leading wineries and winemakers, the getting together with friends and the sharing:
Richard Painter – Te Awa Estate 2020 Cabernet Franc Rose’ – matching canape Origin Earth Takenga Gold Cheese with Berry Bees Manuka Comb Honey Tasting: strawberries, almost sweet but not too much Visually: blush in colourCanape brought out the saltiness in the wine – a really interesting match
Amy Hopkinson-Styles – Halcyon Days Wines 2019 Kotare Sauvignon Blanc/Gewurztraminer – matching canape Nieuwenhuis Goats Cheese on crackers Tasting: smooth on the palate, not the usual green apple taste, but pleasantly gooseberry-ish; had a small measure of pinot noir and gertz combined in it! Was quite a savoury taste Visually: pale yellow Canape was a well-matched selection.
Matt Kirby – Clearview Estate 2019 Chardonnay – matching canape Pig & Salt Pork Rillettes, Preserve & Co. Peach Chutney on Hapi Paelo Bread Tasting: highly anticipated as the last time we had this one at the Club is was from the first batch in new American Oak and tasted strongly of coffee! This brew was completely different and most enjoyable. It smelled and tasted like a buttery chardonnay – vegan friendly! Hand-harvested from their own block and naturally fermented Canape was a nice compliment to the wine.
Michael Henley – Smith and Sheth 2017 CRU Heretaunga Syrah – matching canape Pig & Salt Lamb Terrine with Hapi Paleo Bread Tasting: dark berries came through with a smooth-dry-ish after taste on the tongue – this had been a difficult vintage in the Bay to work with, but this could successfully be cellared for 7 years Visually: lovely dark red Canape was a nice compliment.
Julianne Brogden – Collaboration Wines 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon – matching canape Hapi Harore Cheese with OMG Cracker Tasting: blackberries on the tongue, most pleasant, this wine is 100% Cab Sauv from two sites Bridge Pa and Gravels and the grape variety is the last to ripen in the Bay. It has had two years in oak barrels and was very pleasant while being more sophisticated than the old Cab Sauv’s we remembered! This can be cellared for 10-12 years Visually: dark red Canape didn’t really enhance the wine any but was pleasant.
This was a strictly limited ticket numbers event, but I think we all felt it could have been a bit longer, as we enjoyed it so much! Would definitely recommend any upcoming events to members.
A list of the world’s 50 best vineyards for wine tourism has named a Central Otago and a Hawke’s Bay estate as being among the best.
And those two Kiwi vineyards rank in the top 20 in the world in the list out today.
The global list of wine tourism destinations named Argentina’s Zuccardi Valle de Uco in the top spot for the second year running.
Bodega Garzón in Uruguay was second for a consecutive year and Domäne Wachau in Austria jumped 16 places to claim the third spot this year.
But Central Otago’s Rippon, on the Wanaka-Mt Aspiring Rd, placed 13th and was also named the best vineyard in Australasia. The Hawke’s Bay’s Craggy Range was 17th best on the list. Last year, the biodynamic Rippon was in eighth place and Craggy Range was 11th.
13 AT A GLANCE:
THE BEST VINEYARD IN AUSTRALASIA
Name of wine estate: Rippon Country: New Zealand Wine region: Central Otago Standout points: Jaw-droppingly beautiful views from the shore of Lake Wanaka; stunningly sleek biodynamic wines Winemaker: Nick Mills Wine style: Precise, site-specific noble varieties (Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewürztraminer)
The list said Rippon had “jaw-droppingly beautiful views from the shore of Lake Wanaka, stunningly sleek biodynamic wines” from winemaker Nick Mills and “precise, site-specific noble varieties of Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer”.
“What makes Rippon one of the most desirable estates in the world to visit? The wines, the views and the people – in equal measure. Lake Wanaka, an ancient moraine lake, shimmering under the crystal light of a sunny Central Otago day must count as one of the most Instagrammable images on the planet. That Rippon maintains 15ha of vines in this immaculate landscape is wonder enough, but the quality and sense of place of its wholly estate-grown wines gives this little corner of heaven an extra special appeal,” the citation said.
Burgundy-trained fourth-generation Mills and his team were praised along with the organic and biodynamic methods and intensive handwork on display. “Rippon’s cellar door is open for small group tastings by uncharged appointment throughout the year. Expect to enjoy an informal yet informed tasting of some of the best wines of Central Otago as you’re guided through a selection of five or six Rippon wines by a switched-on member of the Rippon team, who will talk you through the farm, the family’s history and if you’re game, the arcane world of biodynamics,” the list said.
17 AT A GLANCE
Name of wine estate: Craggy Range Country: New Zealand Wine region: Hawke’s Bay Standout points: Stunning location in the shadow of Te Mata Peak; luxury boutique accommodation; award-winning restaurant Winemaker: Julian Grounds Wine style: Multi-region, site-specific wines, everything from aromatic whites to Bordeaux blends, and terroir Syrahs and Chardonnays
On the 17th-ranked Craggy Range, the list said it was in a “stunning location in the shadow of Te Mata Peak, luxury boutique accommodation; award-winning restaurant”. It cited winemaker: Julian Grounds and said wines were “everything from aromatic whites to Bordeaux blends, and terroir Syrahs and Chardonnays.
“Over the past 20 years, Terry and Mary Peabody have expended every possible effort to make Craggy Range an exceptional visitor experience. Whether it’s the cellar door, inspired by some of the Napa Valley’s leading wineries, the award-winning restaurant with 360-degree views of the local landscape, or Craggy Range’s exceptional boutique accommodation, expect nothing but the best in this beautiful little corner of Hawke’s Bay,” the list said of that operation established in 1998.
“When it came to establishing their vineyards, from the off Terry and Mary pursued an innovative multi-regional approach, focusing on the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke’s Bay, ideally suited to high-quality reds including Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and Te Muna Rd in Martinborough – better for Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc – to produce a range of wines that speak eloquently of their place,” the list said.
“On a typical cellar visit, former New Zealand sommelier of the year Michael Bancks greets guests at the door and begins the tour in the main cellar building, Sophia, where you learn the history of Craggy Range. Then it’s on to the subterranean barrel hall, The Quarry, where you will taste from the estate’s unreleased prestige collection wines still in the barrel.
“From there, the tour moves on to the restaurant garden in the shadow of Te Mata peak. At the award-winning Craggy Range Restaurant, head chef Casey McDonald has devised a menu inspired by the elements and produce abundant in Hawke’s Bay. Finally, it’s on to the sun terrace to enjoy a guided tasting of Craggy Range’s diverse multi-region range, with a variety of flight options available to suit each guest’s tastes,” the citation said.
The world’s best vineyards list is based on nominations from a voting academy made up of more than 500 wine experts, sommeliers and travel correspondents from around the world. It aims to raise the profile of wine tourism and encourage travellers to enjoy wine-related experiences globally.
Well, December already team. It has been a strange year with a few downs to go along with the ups for some of us on a personal level.
That is not to say that it has been a bad year for our Cellar Club, quite the contrary in fact. Let’s review our year. By a long-established tradition, we began with our summer BBQ at the end of January. The usual excellent occasion and we continue to appreciate that Derek makes his premises available. February saw us heading to Askerne Estate in Hawkes Bay. The Hawkes Bay wineries never let you down. March was with the very well established Villa Maria presenting. While the winery originated in Auckland, the company has expanded over the years and produces wines from most of the major regions in New Zealand.
April saw something of a coup for the club with Joelle Thomson presenting. Joelle is a well-recognised personality in the New Zealand wine world as an author, wine writer and tutor. Another great tasting. May is the inevitable AGM then in June Simon Bell from Colab Wine Merchants took us on a tour of Europe. Simon brought along some large wine glasses and some time was spent on discussing the virtues and differences that wine glasses can make to your wine experience. On to July for the mid-year dinner at the Trade Kitchen.
Off to Nelson for the August tasting with Waimea Estate. Over the years Waimea has gathered 150+ Gold Medals and 26 Trophies across nine different wine styles. Nelson producers are right up there as a wine region. Cenna Lloyd for Negociants presented in September. She presented wines from two wineries, Misha’s Vineyard and Two Paddocks, both from Central Otago. Much enjoyed by those who attended and really great orders from a smaller group attending.
In October we celebrated the Rugby World Cup with a selection of wines from countries competing in the Cup. Keith Tibble was the presenter. November saw the very early return of Cenna Lloyd for the South American wine and food match evening outlined below. Cenna had been to South American after presenting in September and was keen to share her experience.
It only remains to anticipate yet another December Dinner. We have been to Cashmere Lounge before and we are sure you will not be disappointed.
It is indeed my privilege to present to club members the Cellar Club’s annual report for the year 2018 – 2019.
I want to stress that the club is first and foremost about you. It is you as active members who make the club as vibrant as it is. Maintaining membership at a sound level is the key. Thank you for your support for events and meetings during the year and attending tonight’s AGM. Our monthly meetings continue to be well attended, in fact the average number of members attending monthly meetings relative to the club’s subscription membership has perhaps never been better. Total numbers attending tastings again exceeded 300 during this last year (at 9 meetings) but we have noted that guest numbers were a little down and this may need to be addressed if we are looking to build on our membership.
In particular the numbers attending the two club dinners in July and December 2018 were also at a high (the 2 dinners were collectively over 90) and as these dinners are highlight events for members we will continue to prioritise efforts to choose the right venue, creating a chance for you to share good wines with your table and to enjoy some of the first class cuisine that Wellington restaurants do provide.
May I add that this report, rather than being printed, is posted for your interest on the club’s website.
Keeping the membership levels up and ensuring meetings are well attended is a prime objective to ensure the club remains viable and we can sustain the costs that running the club incurs. You will see from the financial report prepared for the AGM that the club’s finances are in very good shape thanks particularly to the diligence and astute budget management of our long serving treasurer.
These club’s finances and fixed costs are manageable but do require active attention. Venue hire, licenses for the club website and the council’s liquor requirements, presenter gifts and the costs of the wines are the key points of focus. With healthy finances we are able to subsidise the annual BBQ and dinners, sustain a club cellar and provide those cellared wines at dinners and the AGM tonight. We are fortunate that occasionally the wine presenters either heavily discount the wine or are prepared to donate their wines. This can be unpredictable but where it eventuates we are grateful and it allows the benefits to flow back to members.
This is often a function of the size scale of the wineries or their subsequent response to your level of orders. It is worth noting that the presenters cover their own travel, visiting and accommodation costs and for some this is substantial. In those terms I want to thank members most sincerely for their preparedness to order on the night and many of the presenters particularly comment on both their orders and naturally express a willingness to return to the club. I know that is not always true of some other wine clubs where they have different arrangements and expectations. Our club’s operating model is not unique, but where other styles of club operations put some pressure on presenters and wineries, our model ensures good relations are maintained with wineries, our financial viability is ensured and door charges and subscriptions remain affordable.
Therefore, the level of support from members suggests the formula may be right but I want to stress that meeting your interests is paramount. We would want to hear both suggestions for meetings and ideas and options for events that are planned. Each member of the committee is only too willing to talk with you to seek and explore ideas to ensure the club remains in good heart and is delivering what members want in terms of wine education, quality wine experiences and a good social atmosphere at meetings and amongst members.
As members you have excelled with the help you provide with meeting logistics. Looking after the glassware, setting the venue hall up and helping stack tables and chairs away, assisting with pouring when requested, being inclusive at tables and helping with distribution of wine orders does ease the pressures involved in meetings and covering the necessary tasks and it is appreciated.
It is pleasing to reflect that the club continues to thrive as Wellington’s pre-eminent wine society established and operating since 1980 expanding from a local suburban focus to a membership residing from across the city, the Hutt Valley to the Kapiti Coast. Your continuing involvement has ensured this longevity into our 40th year.
The programme over the last year was varied and well received. We visited Hawkes Bay [Unison Vineyard, Clearview Estate and Askerne Wines], tasted internationally from France [Maison Vauron with cheeses], Portugal [Confidant Wines] and Australia [Yalumba with Negociants], tasted Marlborough [with Villa Maria], looked at quality wines under $25 with Joelle Thomson and dined at Saigon Van, at Juniper and the traditional January BBQ (courtesy of life member Derek Thompson).
My thanks go also to an outstandingly willing committee. This is a group that is dedicated, reliable and affable. The portfolios are well shared and the committee’s focus is sustained membership, managing costs, providing publicity and information, and promoting wine education. It is pleasing for me to note that the current committee members have all expressed a willingness to continue in their involvement.
This is a group notable for their collective efforts and backing each other up. The committee deals with a plethora of issues, with finances and organising the annual tasting programme being a focus. There certainly is an extensive timely email flow amongst the committee and we always have a quorum at monthly committee meetings. Planning and being flexible are the keys, although occasionally there is pressure on the scheduled monthly programme. Invariably we manage to come through and frequently achieve stellar presentations. Our secretarial support, the newsletter and our website as our “shop windows”, licensing and venue realities, catering and balancing our books all require dedication and effort. For this collective endeavour I am grateful to committee members.
The club is about sociability,extending wine experiences and broadening horizons. We are always looking for the means to increase our membership. It is always a pleasure when you bring along guests to meetings and functions as prospective members and we are happy to make incentives for you to do so. With guest numbers a little down of late there is a real interest to encourage your friends and acquaintances who may wish experience a tasting evening and perhaps to join the club. Specifically, how we can increase younger membership is one of the challenges going forward.
Thank you for your support and active involvement and hence I raise a glass to you one and all and trust we will continue to do so for the year ahead and to mark the club’s 40th year.
The best of New Zealand wine will be discovered at New Zealand Winegrowers’ refreshed wine competition later this year.
The New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards is the official national wine competition of the New Zealand wine industry, replacing the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and the Bragato Wine Awards, two of the industry’s major wine competitions.
The New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards will combine the very best components of the previous competitions, with a focus on rewarding the grape grower and their single vineyard wines (a core component of the Bragato Wine Awards), as well as championing New Zealand wine excellence on a larger scale (a key objective of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards).
John Clarke, New Zealand Winegrowers Board Chair, says the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards is a fresh approach to celebrating excellence in New Zealand wine.
“The opportunity to recognise the achievements of our grape growers and winemakers in one competition is exciting. The New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards will help us to continue building on New Zealand wine’s excellent global reputation,” Mr Clarke says.
Judging of the wines will take place in the first week of October in Auckland. Highly regarded Hawke’s Bay winemaker and Chair of the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, Warren Gibson, will lead as Chair of Judges, with Marlborough winemaker and Chair of the Bragato Wine Awards, Ben Glover, alongside him as Deputy Chair.
Mr Gibson says the new competition is an exciting opportunity to completely refresh the New Zealand wine awards scene.
“The New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards 2018 is more than an amalgamation of the previous two; it is the development of a new, fresh and exciting format. The focus is strongly towards celebrating the entire New Zealand wine industry, with a particular focus on vineyard excellence and regionality,” Mr Gibson says.
Entries for the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards open on 1 August, with the winners celebrated at the New Zealand Wine Awards on Saturday 3 November in Wellington. More information on the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards can be found at nzwine.com/events.
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.
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.
New Zealand’s wine export values continue to rise thanks to strong United States demand, reaching $1.66 billion for the year, up 6 per cent on the year before.
While the percentage increase is lower than the average yearly growth of 17 per cent for the last 20 years, the industry was still on track to reach $2b worth of exports by 2020, chairman of New Zealand Winegrowers Steve Green said.
The latest NZ Winegrowers annual report shows to the end of June this year, the US market is worth $517 million, up 12 per cent. New Zealand wine became the third most valuable wine import into the US, behind only France and Italy.
Green forecast next year’s export volumes would be “more muted” because of the smaller harvest of 396,000 tonnes, down 9 per cent on 2016, but wineries were confident quality would remain high.
While the US provided the best returns, more litres of wine (74 million) were exported to the United Kingdom for a much smaller return of $389m. Traditionally more bulk wine has been sent into the UK market. Behind the US and the UK came Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and China.
The most exported variety was sauvignon blanc, followed by pinot noir and chardonnay.
The recently passed Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act would offer improved protection of New Zealand’s regional identities. The industry had also launched the sustainable winegrowing New Zealand continuous improvement extension programme to enhance the reputation of wines.
Of a total growing area of 37,129 hectares, sauvignon dominates at 22,085 ha, an increase of 685 ha from the year before. The second most popular variety was pinot noir, with 5653 ha, followed by chardonnay at 3203 ha and pinot gris (2469 ha).
Marlborough is overwhelmingly the largest region with 25,135 ha planted in vines, followed by Hawke’s Bay (4694 ha), Central Otago (1896 ha) and Canterbury/Waipara (1425 ha).
The number of wineries was 677; they reached a peak of 703 in 2012.
New Zealanders drank 40 million litres of imported wine during the past year, most of it Australian (29m litres), with the next two most popular French and Chilean.
The November Kaikoura earthquake damaged an estimated 20 per cent of Marlborough’s tank capacity, but by harvest time all of the lost capacity had been restored or replaced.
Green said the industry consulted with members on possible changes to export tasting requirements, with responses suggesting a rethink of export requirements was needed.
“We continue to believe more needs to be done in our export legislation to ensure that the same standards apply to every bottle of New Zealand wine, no matter where it is bottled,” Green said.
NZ Winegrowers were concerned at the Ministry for Primary Industries’ plan to take part of New Zealand Winegrowers’ wine export certification service contract in-house.
“We fought hard to retain the status quo, which has served our members well, and are disappointed with the level of industry consultation in MPI’s decision making process. If the service changes, we will be seeking guarantees from the government that the current speedy issuance of export eligibility statements will be protected, at no additional cost to members,” Green said.
In June the New Zealand Grape Growers Council and the Wine Institute of New Zealand finished as entities, replaced by a unified New Zealand Winegrowers.
New Zealand is now the only major wine producing nation with a single industry body, representing and advocating for the interests of its entire grape and wine industry.
The industry and the Government are working through a Primary Growth Partnership on research into lighter wine production and marketing. Last year retail sales reached $33.5m. The programme runs through to 2021, by which time $16.97m would have been spent on the partnership.
Organic wine production continues to flourish with more than 60 New Zealand wineries now making fully certified organic wines, and more still in the organic conversion process.