Hawke’s Bay – NZ’s Premium Red Wine Region

Over thousands of years, 5 major Hawke’s Bay rivers moved and formed valleys and terraces to create over 25 different soil types from clay loam, to limestone, to sandy and free draining gravels and red metal.

Read all about NZ’s Premium Red Wine Region or download and read later.

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RM (Rod MacDonald) Wines – Sept 2014

Date: Wednesday 10 September 2014

Time: 7:45 – 9:45 pm

Venue: Johnsonville Community Centre Hall, 30 Moorefield Rd, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037 – Directions.

Cost: Members $10 Guests $14

Presenter: Jason (Jase) Pearce (Central and Lower North Island Sales and Marketing for RM Wines and a Master Sommelier level 1)

Details: We have secured a future star for this tasting – guess which one?

Quaffer: Quarter Acre Sauvignon Blanc

A bit about Jase

Jase comes from over 15 years in the Wellington Hospitality industry, where he built and managed bars and restaurants, including St Johns Bar and The Occidental.

While living and working in in Wellington Jase gained a passion for wine and achieved the distinction of Master Sommelier level 1.

On moving to Hawkes Bay, with a view to expanding his wine knowledge and a change of lifestyle, Jase contacted Rod McDonald who offered him a job in the prestigious position of cellar rat in the winery.

Jase worked through the fantastic 2013 vintage and continues to lend a hand in the winery when he’s not working in his usual role in sales and marketing for Rod McDonald wines covering the Central and Lower North Island.

Jason (Jase) Pearce presenting RM Wines
Jason (Jase) Pearce presenting RM Wines

Tasting review

Jase started the night with an apology from Rod. Rod was in China with a delegation promoting the virtues of Hawkes Bay’s fine vintners, vigneron’s and négociants. Johnsonville – China; I know what I’d choose too.

After being introduced by our President Anne, Jase launched into the RM Wines philosophy of making wines that promise to deliver great drinking from release right through to giving it time to develop.

Extremely passionate about the RM wines, Jase talked about his own experiences in the winery where he still spends a day a week keeping his hand in the production side. I think this makes for a marketer that knows the wines instinctively, and that instinctiveness comes across.

Jase highlighted just how well respected and in demand Rod is. From winemaker at Vidals where Rod became New Zealand Winemaker of the year in 2006 to making not only his own wines but wines for more than 10 other labels, Rod has developed a cult following.

Jase was right on the money with the wines for the night. The wines selected are a tribute to the winemaker and his team. There was the strong RM distinction of flavour and character in each varietal when you compared it with similar type wines from other winemakers.

Some wines you may not associate right away (Sauv. Blanc and Viognier) but at least you’d know it was better than just a good drop; they were exceptional. Each left you feeling a sample was never going to be enough; hence Jase left enough order forms for each person on your table.

A comparative tasting of three Rod MacDonald’s Syrahs – 2012 Blanket Hills Syrah, 2011 Te Awanga Syrah, 2011 Rod McDonald Trademark Syrah

It was hard to pick just one white or red as each wine was distinctive. The highlights for me were the Viognier and Trademark Syrah. The Viognier baked apricot on the nose, rich tropical flavour of pineapple and mango with a long warm spicy finish. The Trademark was simply elegant; reminds me of a lightly spiced plum cake on the nose with a rich mouth feel of dark ripe plums and baked cherry pie with plain yoghurt. The finish was a little tight and sharp so I know I’ll enjoy it in another 10 – 15 years.

Tip: If you can get it, the 2012 Blanket Hills Syrah is the best value Syrah around. Stock up on it before it all goes.


Cheers Jase … and Rod and the team.


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In the News – Villa Maria Viticulturist Wins National Title

villamaria(With Villa Maria coming next month this item might be timely)

It was a successful evening for Villa Maria at last week’s New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato Wine Awards held in Marlborough, winning six gold medals with Villa Maria’s Hawkes Bay Assistant Vineyard Manager Paul Robinson collecting the trophy for New Zealand’s Young Viticulturist of the Year. One of five finalists, Paul was thrilled with his award, “This is my fourth attempt at the title and it feels great to be the winner.”

Placing strong emphasis on viticulture, this is the second time Villa Maria has had a winner take the title. Paul made special thanks to Villa Maria for the opportunities that have been presented during his seven years with the company.

The Young Viticulturist of the Year competition was founded in 2006 and attracts a high calibre of entrants from throughout the country and is recognised within the wine industry as the leading accomplishment for young viticulturists to aspire to and achieve, celebrating the young talent in each wine region.

The contestants showcased their practical skills throughout the competition with the final challenge, a topical speech. Fronting a crowd of 400, Paul confidently spoke about water management in Hawkes Bay’s famous Gimblett Gravels Wine Growing District, and he goes onto compete in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition in November.

Emma Taylor, National Coordinator for the Young Viticulturist Competition said, “This year’s event was particularly tough with a very high standard of competitors.”

The annual Bragato Wine Awards celebrate the effort and passion from viticulturists and vineyard management throughout New Zealand. The six gold medals Villa Maria collected are the result of a true culmination between viticulture and winemaking to consistently produce quality wines.


  • Villa Maria Single Vineyard Chardonnay Keltern 2013
  • Villa Maria Single Vineyard Chardonnay Taylors Pass 2013
  • Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Noble Riesling 2012
  • Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Noble Semillon 2011
  • Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Noir 2012
  • Villa Maria Reserve Hawkes Bay Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2012


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Looking Forward – Oct 2014 – Villa Maria

villamariaThe presenter for this Villa Maria tasting will be Jonathan (Jono) Hamlet of the Joseph Solar Vineyard (manager and viticulturist) in Hawkes Bay – he manages the organics programme for V M nationwide, and this tasting will concentrate on their organic portfolio. Amongst other achievements, Jono is the vice president of the NZ Organic Winegrowers Association. More detail next month.

On offer will be a Gewürztraminer quaffer, then two wines from the Private Bin range, two Cellar Selections and two single vineyard wines, all organic offerings. In order to show some more ‘interesting’ varieties, Villa Maria will arrange for some barrel samples of wines produced from grapes from their organic vineyards i.e. Chenin Blanc. They have over 15 varieties planted in their Hawkes Bay organic vineyard alone so this shouldn’t be a problem!

View Jono’s profile.


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Wine Adjunct bus trip to Hawkes Bay – PWMC

The Petone Working Men’s Club are off to the Hawkes Bay on their infamous wine and social trips. Care to join in the fun?


Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th October


Depart Club 7am

We will visit 3 wineries & a chocolate factory on our way to the Hawkes Bay

Accommodation: Kennedy Park Motels (all twin share)

Saturday Dinner: Taradale Club 6.30pm

Saturday Night Menu is a Buffet

Roast Pork  |  Roast Beef  |  Crumbed Fish  |  Sweet n Sour Chicken  |  Selection of 6 Vegetable  |  3 Salads  |  Cold Chicken Wings  |  Cheese Board  |  Selection of 6 Desserts  |  Tea & Coffee

Leaving club at 10pm to return to accommodation

Transport provided both ways


Pack up belongings

Leaving motels at 8am for breakfast at the Taradale Club

Sunday Breakfast Menu is a Buffet

Bacon  |  Sausages  |  Scrambled Eggs  |  Tomatoes  |   Hash Browns  |  Baked Beans  |  Toast, butter & jam  |  Tea & Coffee

Depart club at 9.00am

We will visit 3 wineries on the way home

Scheduled arrival back, PWMC 8-30- 9pm


$200 per person

This includes, accommodation, travel, tastings, tea Saturday night, breakfast Sunday morning & chocolate factory visit.

Excluded from the above costs are:

  • Lunch both days
  • Drinks at Taradale club, Saturday night


If you are interested please ring 938-2335 or email Colin Dodd

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From the Editor: Feb 2014

2014 – And before you know where you are, it’s February. Your committee would like to wish all members, and others with an association to the Cellar Club, all the best in health and happiness for 2014.

If you thought 2013 was a great year then we are sure you are going to enjoy 2014. We have worked hard to get a cross section of tastings and events to please our members. We are starting the year with Wrights from Gisborne, with the promise of an intriguing evening from a recognised organic producer, who is also dabbling with low and no alcohol wines. Makes for an interesting conversation topic, is it a wine or just a fruit juice. Come along and discuss.

Other offerings for the year are planned to include Alpha Domus (Hawkes Bay), Penfolds Bin Releases (Barossa), Wooing Tree (Central Otago), Moana Park (Hawkes Bay), Milton Estate (Gisborne), Rod McDonald Wines (HB again), and hopefully one from Martinborough later in the year. Working on the usual Festives Wines and two dinners as well.

So a full and interesting year in prospect and we trust you will fully enjoy the tastings and activities arranged.

Robin Semmens, Editor

Hot Red Hawkes Bay 2012


Come and join us to taste the best of Hawke’s Bay wine!

This is a special event we hold only once a year. 21 wineries showing over 170 wines at 1 place at 1 time!

It would be impossible to see this many Hawke’s Bay wines and talk to this many Hawke’s Bay winemakers in one day, anywhere else.



6:00pm to 9:00pm

$35.OO per person

We would love to have you join us.


Hawkes Bay Charity Wine Auction 2012

HawkesBayCharityWineAuction2012Queens Birthday Weekend

Saturday 2nd June 2012 – 2.30 – 7.00 pm

Orton @ Sileni, Sileni Estates, Maraekakaho Rd, Hastings

Book Tickets Now -06 855 8365

WineryLot Description
1Paritua Vineyards2 x 1.5 litre Magnums of Paritua 2008 & 2009 Syrah
2Kidnapper Cliffs8 course Degustation meal for 6 people at the renowned Pacifica Restaurant, with matched with Kidnapper Cliffs Wine
3Babich Wines6 x 750ml Irongate Chardonnay 2010
4Redmetal Vineyards1 x 3 litre Double Magnum of 2000 Resolution Merlot
5Corozo Estate1 x Magnum + 12 x 750ml of each ­Blanc de Blanc 2007 Methode Traditionelle and Blanc de Noir 2007 Methode Traditionelle
6Gimblett GravelsGimblett Gravels Winegrower’s Assemblage Syrah 2011, 12 x 750ml and 12 x 1.5 litre Magnums
7Junction Wines6 Magnums 2010 Body & Soul Pinot Noir (1 signed by Richie McCaw)
8Bilancia6 x 750ml 2005 ­2010 la collina Syrah + 3 litre 2008 la collina Syrah
9Elephant HillDegustation dinner for 8 people designed by Executive Chef Ashley Jones, matched with wines by Winemaker Steve Skinner
10Crossroads6 x Magnums 2009 Vineyard Selection Merlot, individually presented in wooden cases
11Frizzell Wines6 x 1.5 litre Magnums 2010 Syrah, each Magnum handpainted by Dick Frizzell
12Lime Rock Wines1 x Jeroboam of Lime Rock White Knuckle Hill Pinot Noir 2007
13Villa Maria2 x magnums of each the 2010 Reserve Gimblett Gravels Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet­Merlot
14Bridge Pa Vineyard6 x 750ml boxed Bridge Pa Vineyard Âtanga Syrah 2007
15Black Barn VineyardsMixed case of exclusive editions of Black Barn Chardonnay in Collectors Case
16Squawking Magpie2 x 3 litre Squawking Magpie 2011 Stone Crow Syrah (label designed by Martin Poppelwell)
17Sileni Estates1 x 9 litre Salmanazar, 1 x 3 litre Double Magnum and 1 x 1.5 litre Magnum, 2000 EV Merlot
18Matariki Wines3 x Magnums En Primeur 2009 Matariki Quintology, Degustation Dining & 2 nights @ Mangapapa Petit Hotel, for 6 people
19Clearview EstateCreate your own 1/4 Barrique ­either 2012 Chardonnay or 2011 Classic Red Blend Bordeaux
20Trinity Hill1/4 Barrique 2011 Gimblet Gravels Syrah
21Alpha Domus1/2 Barrique of Leonarda Late Harvest Semillon 2010
22Brookfields Vineyards4 x Magnums 2009 Hillside Syrah & 4 x Magnums 2009 Gold Label Cabernet Merlot
23Sacred Hill3 x Magnums of 2010 Riflemans Chardonnay & 3 x Magnums of 2011 Virgin Chardonnay
24Stonecroft6 vintages Syrah 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 & 6 x Magnums 2010 Reserve Syrah
25Esk Valley Estate28 litres 2011 Gimblet Gravels Malbec
26CJ Pask1/4 Barrique Declaration Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2009
27Vidal Estate1/4 Barrique 2011 Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Gimblett Gravels Selection
28Te Mata Estate6 litre Bottle blend ­Te Mata “6×6” Syrah 2012, a blend of 6 Syrah clones ­the only one of its kind produced
29Crab Farm WineryDinner for 12 by Executive Chef Lisa Jardine, matched Crab Farm wines
30Mission Estate Winery1/2 Barrique 2009 Gimblet Gravels Cabernet Franc
31Ngatarawa Wines225 litre 2010 Ngatarawa Syrah
32Church Road225 litre 2009 Extended Barrel Maturation Cabernet Sauvignon, made especially for this auction
33Artwork“Still Life With a Little Bit of Red” by Riks Terstappen