Macvine International – Nov 2015

An interesting evening hosted by Michael Jemison, Macvine International. Michael displayed a good style while giving a good level of information during the presentation. However, the turnout at 32 was a little disappointing. Some great discounts offered for those who purchased.

The wines offered included; Ca Di Rajo 2013 Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG Millesimato Extra Dry; Yerring Station Yarrabank Cuvee 2010; Andre Delorme Terroir d’Exception Blanc de blanc NV; Kerpen 2013 Riesling Kabinett; Dumangin Brut le Rose Premium Cru NV; Dumangin Premier Cru Vintage Champagne 2003, and all rounded off with a Clark Estate Noble Pinot Gris 2011.

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Tasting review – A MacVine Christmas

Tasting review

2015-06-17-5580e272d2fbcOur presenter Michael Jemison, Managing Director for MacVine, was a man who enjoyed telling great stories about his travels through the houses of champagne, particularly Michael’s favorite, Champagne Dumangin, whom de gorge the champagne on order, not in bulk.

Michael is well rehearsed in the art of conversation and spoke about each wine passionately and with great enthusiasm.

The Prosecco was Extra Dry meaning not sweet. Ah, Italians and their use of English, just love it. Being a vintage wine, 2013, I was expecting more.

The Yerring Station Yarrabank Cuvee was beautifully made – simple and elegantly made with friends from Champagne Devaux – 15/20.

From Burgundy, the Andre Delorme Terroir d’Exception Blanc de Blanc was bottle fermented in the champagne style with lovely yeasty extract and a gentle sweetness giving way to slight acidic undertone, very refreshing. Right up there with our methode champenoise – 16/20.

The 2013 Kerpen Riesling Kabinett has a hint of flinty minerality and earthiness on the nose. The initial hit of sweetness while not overpowering gave way to soft acidity which balanced well with food. For me, this wine was the star of the show – 18/20.

Dumangin Rosé and 2003 champagnes were both subtle in flavour with beautiful nose characters of yeast, apricot and lemon rind. A short finish left me expecting more – 16/20.

The wines overall were of quality befitting any Christmas lunch but several I’d want to keep to myself and drink in a quiet space to savor their complexities. If you do see any of these on wine lists, worth a try.

Cheers, Steve

Tasting – A MacVine Christmas

7:45 – 9:45 pm


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

Cost: Members $20, Guests $25

Presenter: Michael Jemison, Managing Director

Background: Established in 1999, Macvine International is an importer and distributor of top quality, specialist wine from New Zealand and around the world. We also import and distribute Spiegelau glassware – one of the world’s top specialist producers of glassware designed for wine lovers. Wines for tasting:

  • 2013  Italian Prosecco – Ca Di Rajo Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG Millesimato Extra Dry – Actually bottle fermented and from the best region in Prosecco. It’s an off-dry style even though its say extra dry which in Italian mean off dry.
  • Australian bubbly – Yerring Station Yarrabank Cuvee – Made with the help of a French Champagne house so offers a point of difference quite smart.
  • French bubbly – Andre Delorme Terroir d’Exception Blanc de Blanc NV – From Burgundy hand is made the same way as Champagne last year would best sparkling wine in Cuisine Magazine.
  • 2013 Kerpen Riesling Kabinett – Low alcohol which good fruit weight to refresh the palate
  • Champagne – Dumangin Brut Le Rosé Premium Cru NV – Exceptional bubbles
  • 2003 Dumangin Premier Cru Vintage Champagne – 95 points Bob Campbell this is rich like Christmas cake and complex.
  • Sticky – 2011 Noble Pinot Gris 375ml
Click image for more in the gallery

What a great selection and Macvine will be offering some very healthy discounts if you want something special for Christmas. Don’t miss this one.

Nov bubbles and Dec dinner

We’re getting ready for a busy season with Nov bubbles and Dec dinner.

To show your support, please complete the payment advice form and either pay online or bring the form and payment with you when you come to the November tasting.

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Man O’ War – Oct 2015 – Looking back

2015-10-17-5621b9075e214A very enjoyable tasting We had a great evening and Ben Coles was a relaxed and entertaining presenter. The wines were more than pleasant and members were keen to make orders. Yet another top tasting, to repeat the wines offered;

  • 2013 Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
  • 2014 Valhalla Chardonnay
  • 2015 Exiled Pinot Gris
  • 2015 Pinque Rose
  • 2011 Dreadnought Syrah
  • 2012 Man O’ War Merlot Cabernet Malbec
  • 2010 Ironclad Bordeaux blend

Check out the tasting review.

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Tasting review – Man-O-War, Waiheke

There are not many times when tasting wines you come across a range that fulfils everything it promises. Duncan, the team at Man O’ War, and our presenter Ben have produced a range the would not let anyone down. Everyone had their favourite on the night right across the lineup.

  • 2013 Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
  • 2014 Valhalla Chardonnay
  • 2015 Exiled Pinot Gris
  • 2015 Pinque Rose
  • 2011 Dreadnought Syrah
  • 2012 Man O’ War Merlot Cabernet Malbec
  • 2010 Ironclad Bordeaux blend
Click image for more in the gallery

Ben, the GSM at Man o’ War is an ingenious speaker; knowledgeable, funny, with a great personality; a great representative for Man O’ War. I noted a few of Ben’s one-liners:

  • Berocca pee (in reference to Marlborough Sauv’s)
  • Better red than dead
  • Gotta go big or go home
  • Drink some tea (in reference to waiting for wine to ferment)
  • Global warming is John Key,s fault (needing to pick 2012 crop later than usual due to wet weather)
  • Waiheke is a piece of dirt in a big blue thing (in reference to an ideal location)

Man O’ War is 150 acres made up of 76 individual parcels of land providing great diversity in soil type, prevailing winds and temperature, allowing the winemaker to source the best of what’s on offer to make incredibly decadent wines.

The Gravestone as you’d expect was far your typical sauv. Silky with a touch of sweetness with a slight minerality finish – pleasant. 15/20

I have been drinking the ’09 and ’10 Valhalla – exceptional wines. The 2014 rendition was smokey, no malo ferment due to basalt soils, and a beautifully balanced wine. Yes needs five years but worth the wait. 19/20

The Pinot Gris bottled at 4° gave a slight tingle on the tongue. Ben mentioned this raises the CO2 levels so there’s more in the bottle – about 4 ml. 17/20

The inaugural release of Pinque, named after a  flat-bottomed ship, was gently pressed wine in the champagne style over 6 hours. A pale pink hue gives way to a savoury cranberry nose and clean dry finish. 15/20

Click image for more in the gallery

The white label Merlot dominant (45%) Bordeaux blend is one of my favourite wines anytime. I can recommend the ’06 and ’07 as it has aged wonderfully well so 2012 won’t let you down. Fruity, light tannin feel on the teeth, not the mouth, and a smooth rich finish. 17/20. Now for the biggies.

The Ironclad, silky elegance. Savoury mince nose, rich lingering finish. An exciting wine that I’ve laid down for at least ten years. 19/20. The Dreadnought gave a hint of bayleaf, bacon and blueberries, finished off with savoury and minerality overtones. Ben said Pinot Noir on steroids and that’s the beauty of this wine. Another for ageing. 18/20.

Tasting details

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

Cost: Members $12, Guests $16

Presenter: Ben Coles, Global Sales Manager

About Man O’ War

The Winemaker at Man O’ War is Duncan McTavish. His heart and soul and enormous talent are all reflected in each of the extraordinary wines he crafts at Man O’ War. Of singular personality, they are indeed the “definitive translation of our land.”

The inaugural graduate of the Viticulture & Oenology degree at Lincoln University in 1998, Duncan spent the following three years working harvest for some of the best producers in Burgundy,
Germany, California, Australia and New Zealand. This apprenticeship culminated in 2001 when he landed a job with one of New Zealand’s best wine producers, the Waipara Valley’s inimitable
Pegasus Bay. After nearly four years under the wing of Pegasus, Duncan left to develop his winemaking ideas at Waipara Springs. In 2008, Man O’ War were fortunate enough to entice
Duncan to go north to Man O’ War. He now makes his home on Waiheke living above Onetangi Beach with his partner Vanessa, son Tommy and a baby daughter.

We look forward to sharing the Man O’ War philosophy and wines with Ben, who is the Global Sales Manager for the winery.

Man O’ War Legacy – ‘Discovered’ in 1769

The Man O’ War story begins with a special piece of land which has a rich history. Located at the eastern end of Waiheke Island, Man O’ War is a stunning array of coastal hillsides with high cliffs and pristine beaches forming a ruggedly beautiful coastline.  Continue reading →

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Tasting review – Gladstone Vineyard

Being the first vineyard in Gladstone in 1986, Christine and David Kernohan took over the vineyard in 1996. Only 20km from Martinborough, GV soils exhibit similar properties probably due to its proximity to the old terrace riverbed of the Ruamahanga River.

With ideal soil conditions, free draining stony silt loam for growing vines, production has steadily stepped up over the past 20 years. Christine mentioned the wine growing area in Gladstone is in the process of identifying its own sub-region characteristics.

The wines from first impressions seemed to be a little flat. First impressions can be deceiving as they were in this case. The bouquet for most wines were on the light side but still clean and fresh.

The 2014 Viognier gave a hint on lemon peel and spice with a dry, ripe apricot finish. The GC Sauv. Blanc hinted at young pineapple and again a dry, crisp lingering (for more) finish. The Pinot Gris offered up fresh melons with off-dry ripe stonefruit to finish and the Rosé, made from Bordeaux-style grapes. strawberries and cream, beautiful and elegant.

Click image to view the gallery

Into the reds. The tasting notes were not wrong. What they don’t mention is their elegant subtle perfume and rich long finish. 12.000 Pinot Noir offered hints of blackberry and liquorice with a savoury finish.

Despite a wet few months before picking, the 2011 GV Pinot Noir displayed a warmth from the extra time on the vine allowing the tannins to build. This would go perfectly with lamb or pork infused with Asian-inspired flavours; star anise, dark soy, sugar and salt.

The club appreciates Christine’s time and wonderfully crafted wines. Now looking forward to how 2014 Pinot’s stack up.

Cheers, Steve

Event details

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

Cost: Members $12, Guests $16

Presenter: Christine Kernohan – Chef winemaker, Gladstone Vineyard


Christine is the chief winemaker at Gladstone, involved in all stages of winemaking and manages the business. One of only three Scottish women winemakers in the world (not being a common career aspiration where or when she grew up). Christine ‘fell’ into the wine industry after a happenstance visit to Gladstone Vineyard with David one spring weekend in 1995.

She previously worked in the computer industry in business analysis and project management and was also involved in social research and agriculture industry research. She has an MBA from Massey University and farming experience from involvement in a goat, sheep and beef farm at Hunterville.

Gladstone Vineyard was the opportunity to run her own business, bring together the rural life with business, and apply her scientific bent from way back.

David Kernohan is owner/taster, architect and former Associate Professor at the School of Architecture at Wellington’s Victoria University. He has been operating his own research and building heritage consultancy, Architecture Diagnostics, from the vineyard for the past eight years.

He is the author of five books on architecture including Wairarapa Buildings published in 2003. David is a Deputy Environment Commissioner, was co-author of the Hunn Report on the weather tightness of buildings that precipitated the Building Act 2004, and is a former Director of Wellington Waterfront Limited.

  • ‘Quaffing wine’ – 12,000 Miles Sauvignon Blanc 2014
    Move over Marlborough… try the ‘more grown up’, easy drinking summer Wairarapa SB. The wine shows excellent fruit purity and finishes long and attractive. At its best: now to 2017.” 4.5 Stars, Wine Orbit, Jan 2015
  • Gladstone Vineyard Viognier 2014
    White peach and mandarin on the nose, echoed by orange blossom and subtle clove spice. An elegant, cool climate Viognier. 5 Stars 93/100. Wine Orbit; 4 Stars” Cameron Douglas MS
  • Gladstone Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2013
    More serious, wonderful food wine. Careful batch selection and winemaking produce this textural elegant Sauvignon Blanc. Silver Medals, San Francisco and Canada, 91/100 Sam Kim.
  • 12,000 Miles Pinot Gris 2014
    A lovely bouquet of yellow peach, loquat and nectarine opens up to a musky floral and cinnamon spice nose. The palate is rich and rounded with a soft, mealy character from the extended lees contact. Silver Medal NZ International Wine Show 2014
  • Gladstone Vineyard Rose 2014
    THINK PINK! A perfect ‘all year round’ rose. The nose is all summery desserts with strawberry, raspberry and pannacotta with hints of spice. Creamy and generous entry with a juicy fruit core and a clean finish. Made from Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes.
  • 12,000 Miles Pinot Noir 2013
    New release, dark berry flavours are balanced with subtle spice, chocolate, earth and savoury characteristics that enhance and lengthen the palate. Pure Gold Air New Zealand Wine Awards 2014, Gold Melbourne International Wine Competition 2014
  • Gladstone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011
    “Light ruby-red with purple hues, fresh and fragrant with lifted red cherry and berry fruit aromas and a little savoury interest. Attractively elegant”. Silver Medal International Wine Challenge 2013, & Decanter World Wine Awards 2013, International Wine Challenge 2013

Note: Every case purchased goes into the draw to win a magnum of Gladstone Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir 09.

Gladstone Vineyard – August 2015 – Looking Forward


gladstone_vineyardGladstone Vineyard is a family business with an international reputation for distinctive, high-quality wines of finesse and complexity. Established on the old riverbed of the Ruamahanga River at Gladstone, their focus is simply to craft beautiful wine that expresses the exceptional characteristics of the soil, the climate and the region.

At Gladstone Vineyard, they are committed to growing vines and producing wine in a thoughtful and environmentally responsible manner. They like to call this “intelligent winegrowing”. It means making smart, considered decisions about everything they do, with the interests of the land, the vines and the wine top of mind.

Their principal varieties are the internationally acclaimed Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. They also make a Viognier, a Rosé, a dry Riesling, and the “Auld Alliance” their premier Bordeaux-style wine. Christine Kernohan is Owner/Winemaker and I assume she will do the presentation. More about the tasting and the wines next month.

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Looking Back – April 2015 – Chris Morgan, Ohau Wines

This tasting was very good with a lot of members attending to find out about our “local” winery.

There was some feedback that the meeting went on a bit too long. Your committee have agreed that we should remind presenters that the meeting should finish about 9:30 pm with a 10-minute break at half time. The pourers will keep an eye on meeting flow, to keep the meeting moving while being flexible at the same time. Despite this criticism, it was an enjoyable evening, and interesting to9 hear about the development of a new wine region close to Wellington.

The wines tasted were:

Woven Stone Sauvignon Blanc 2014; Ohau Gravels Sauvignon Blanc 2012; Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2011; Woven Stone Rose 2014; Woven Stone Pinot Gris 2014; Ohau Gravels Pinot Gris 2014; Single Vineyard Pinot Gris 2011; Woven Stone Pinot Noir 2014.

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Tasting review – Ohau Wines – April 2015

ohauwinesSustainable wines from Ohau (Oar-hoe – say it fast and you’ve got it) at the southern end of the North Island. Being a local from Wellington I must confess I have been past the vines which line SH1 just south of Levin but never stopped. I won’t make that mistake again.

Our presenter Chris Morgan worked for a time in Johnsonville on the local rag. His introduction into wine was purely accidental – went to a wine tasting, sampled his first Sauvignon Blanc and was hooked. Haven’t heard that one before.

Chris the Wine Consultant for Ohau Wines is a man of many tales but I’ll leave those for another day. Chris travels New Zealand touting New Zealand’s newest wine-growing region as if nobody had heard of it before now. Not for long going by the number of awards –  Romeo Bragato, International NZ Wine, Air New Zealand, Berliner Wein Trophy and Spiegelau International to name a few.

ohau-ourregionThe evening started with the 2014 Woven Stone Sauvignon Blanc which was exceptional. No pretenses here. Ripe apricot, lemon and thyme on the nose packed with the subtle flavour of lime with a twist of melon. Sounds more like a cocktail and not a hint of cat’s pee anywhere. At $12.99 (cellar door price) a steal. The Sauvignon then went up in levels. The Ohau had 5% old oak aged Sauvignon Blanc added before bottling which gave the wine a little more weight and a rounded mouth feel.

The 2011 Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc was even more weightier. This punched well above it’s weight and required time to open up. I kept a little back to try again after supper. What a transformation. Rich mouth feel with a finish and length most wines aspire too. I’d still come back for the 2014 Woven Stone. For me a memorable wine and similar to Marlborough’s Clayridge Sauvignon Blanc.

The Rosé and Pinot Noir would make good quaffers but I’d prefer to use them for jelly or stock. My stock recipe – combine in a large pot 1 bottle of wine, balsamic vinegar for extra tartness, sugar and beef maggie stock for added flavour depth, reduce down to a cup. Use a tablespoon or two in meat sauces or soups.

Onto the Pinot Gris. The 2014 Woven Stone has a gewürztraminer like sweetness, smooth but lacking that mid palate opulence that may well come through with a little more time. The same for the Ohau Gravels with the sweetness rounded out by the acidity. A rich mouth feel leaving you wanting just one more glass please.

Click image to view the gallery

Whoa, the 2011 Single Vineyard after spending 10 months in old oak barrels and fermented by the indigenous yeast off the grape skins really packs a punch. Very heddy on first opening, this mellows giving a rich full bouquet – freshly grated lemon zest with a slight minerality. The mouth feel full and bountiful with a hint of the sea grass. With the sea being a few km’s away I wonder this has any influence?

Thanks again Chris and Ohau Wines for an entertaining evening. We look forward to watching and tasting the progress of Ohau Wines.

Also a big thanks to Gayl who met Chris at an Ohau tasting in Khandallah a few weeks ago and arranged the Cellar Club tasting.

Ohau Wines invite you to join their Cellar Club for award-winning wines at special prices, priority advice on new vintage releases and regular cellar club newsletters and special offers.

Cheers Steve

Event details

Date: 8 April 2015

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

Cost: Members $12, Guests $16

Presenter: Chris Morgan, Wine Consultant

Background: From New Zealand’s newest wine region – Just north of the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand’s lower North Island pioneer winery Ohau Wines is producing award-winning wines with intense fruit flavours. Ohau’s river terrace soils are similar to some of the better sites in Marlborough with a temperate climate comparable to Nelson and Hawke’s Bay.

Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc are the two signature varieties. Wines are marketed under the Ohau Gravels and Woven Stone labels. Ohau’s wines are available in many international markets including China, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, The Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia and Australia.

The wines tasted included:

  • 2014 Woven Stone Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2012 Ohau Gravels Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2011 Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2014 Woven Stone Rosé
  • 2014 Woven Stone Pinot Gris
  • 2014 Ohau Gravels Pinot Gris
  • 2011 Single Vineyard Pinot Gris
  • 2014 Woven Stone Pinot Noir

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Little-known Kiwi wine labels worth seeking out

Easthope Family Winegrowers Pinot Noir Te Muna Road 2013 and Mangaorapa Estate Southern Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2011.

We know for sure that there are about 700 wineries in New Zealand, but no-one would have a clue as to how many different brands there are out there. Thousands probably, many completely unknown to you and me.

Not that it really matters. Labels are sometimes nothing more than commercial punts with a butterfly’s life span. Big companies will create a new brand at the merest whiff of a new market segment, then just as quickly snuff it out if expectations aren’t met.

Those New Zealand brands you discover for the first time when you visit an Aussie supermarket are another example of pop-up labels. They are usually the result of bulk wine purchases that are bottled across the ditch.

Then there are the personal, limited-release labels you’ll never see in shops and only at the right parties – the Prime Minister’s annual ‘JK’ Central Otago pinot noir comes to mind.

But also hovering under the radar are some wonderful surprises – off-off-Broadway labels with wines that are lovingly made and every bit as authentic as the best of their mainstream cousins.

Often they’re from tiny estates that haven’t tried very hard to broaden distribution. Or maybe they’re just starting out. Here are three whose wines are worth tracking down:

Lansdowne Estate

Despite the fact it came from nowhere to win the coveted Bouchard Finlayson Trophy for its 2010 pinot noir at last year’s IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) in London, this Wairarapa label has remained enigmatically incognito.

The grapes are grown near Masterton on the site of the region’s very first vineyard, planted by William Beetham in the late 19th century. The vineyard is not irrigated, yields are kept low and a non-interventionist winemaking approach is taken.

The 2010 pinot noir is no longer available but the 2011 pinot noir is delightful and fine-boned, while the panna-cotta-infused 2011 pinot gris has real depth and sophistication.

Lansdowne Estate | Wairarapa

Easthope Family Winegrowers

After leaving Craggy Range, talented winemaker Rod Easthope embarked on a solo career that has seen him make wines for a UK-based online retailer as well as establish his own local label with his wife Emma.

The first wine they produced is an outstanding Wairarapa-made pinot (see below), but also look out for a soon-to-be released 2014 Hawke’s Bay syrah.

Easthope Family Winegrowers | Wairarapa

Mangaorapa Estate

The Mouat family founded the magnificent Mangaorapa Station in southern Hawke’s Bay in the mid-20th century. The recent decision to grow grapes has paid off.

Conditions more often identified with the Wairarapa than Hawke’s Bay have helped produce beautifully scented pinot noir, wild honey-laced sauvignons and enticing pinot gris. The wines are all made off-site by Warren Gibson at Trinity Hill. 

Mangaorapa Estate | Wairarapa

Try these:

  • Easthope Family Winegrowers Pinot Noir Te Muna Road 2013, $65
    Pure sweet berry flavours harmonise with brown tea and minerally savoury elements, against a fine, taut structure. Lovely, lengthy pinot worth cellaring. Buy at
  • Mangaorapa Estate Southern Hawke’s Bay Pinot Gris 2011, $30
    The central triumph of this pinot gris is its mouth-coating, caressing texture. Off-dry in style, with mellowing apple and pear notes, it is aging beautifully. Buy at

John Saker,, March 5 2015

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In the News – Dec 2014 Emirates invests in NZ wines

Cabin crew member and New Zealander Troy Whittle in the Business Class lounge bar aboard an Emirates A380 flight into Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker

Emirates has unveiled details of its more than half a billion dollar “liquor investment” programme.

The airline says that on any given day, more than 60 different wines, champagnes and ports, sourced from vineyards in 11 countries, including New Zealand, are served onboard Emirates to passengers throughout their planes.

It has more than 1.2 million bottles aging in its own cellar in Burgundy, France, some only ready for drinking in a decade or more.

Champagne is the most popular drink in first and business class and by volume 51.5 per cent of Champagne aboard is drunk in the economy section.

New Zealand wines served inflight with Emirates over the past two years include; Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc, Yacht Club sauvignon blanc, Metis sauvignon blanc, Amisfield sauvignon blanc, Spy Valley sauvignon blanc, Isabel Estate sauvignon blanc, Felton Road pinot noir, Rippon pinot noir, Craggy Range pinot noir, Peregrine pinot gris, Mills Reef Gimblett Gravels Reserve syrah.

New Zealand wines have featured in first, business and economy class on Emirates flights.

Emirates, which flies four times daily from New Zealand to Dubai and beyond via Australia, has a dynamic strategy of buying wines, and an intensive programme to secure the best vintages for future consumption by buying “en primeur” often before the wines are bottled and released to the market.

The airline’s experts hand pick and secure the wines served onboard.

President Emirates Airline Sir Tim Clark said that over a decade ago the airline moved away from the usual corporate procurement process and decided to take control of its own destiny.

“We could have taken the easy way out – just do the maths for how many bottles we’d need in each cabin class over a year, then put it up for tender. But with the scale of our operations, this would limit our choices as not many producers can offer the quantities we’d need, at the quality standards that we’d want.”

The airline has spent more than US$500 million on wine and spirits to date.

“Sure, it is a big investment. But wine and champagne will always be an important aspect of our onboard product therefore we take a long term view. It is simply part of our rigorous planning process.”

Besides wines, the airline serves 43 different spirits and 12 different cocktails.

The 30-year-old airline is one of the biggest in the world and has the largest fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft.

NZ Herald, Thursday Dec 4, 2014 – Grant Bradley – Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald.

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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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Wrights Vineyard (Gisborne) with Geoff Wright

wrightsDate: Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Time: 7.45 for 8 pm start

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

Cost: Members $12 Guests $16


Wrights Vineyard and Winery came to fruition when Geoff Wright followed a dream which changed his life. At the beginning of 2000, Geoff packed up his bags from Auckland and enrolled in a Winemaking and Viticulture course in Gisborne. Fourteen years on – married, 3 boys aged 6, 4, 2 and a wife pregnant, 18 hectares of grapes, certified organic, our own winery and new cellar door opened in 2013.

They now manage 45 acres organically and biodynamically. The land is certified organic with Asure Quality. They own and operate three vineyards – The Terrace and Valley Vineyards are located in the renowned grape growing region of Ormond Valley, Gisborne, while the Coastal Vineyard is located in Manutuke, overlooking the iconic landmark – Young Nick’s Head.

The wines Geoff will be showcasing include the Methode Traditionnelle, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer (from vines over 30 years old), Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Verjuice.

Wrights have been featured in a recent item in the Gisborne Herald.