International SauvBlanc Day 2015


Pleasanton, CA – “International SauvBlanc Day” is set for Friday, April 24. It is an event that seeks to engage the wine industry and enthusiasts in sharing their affinity for the varietal. Summertime in a Glass, an organization dedicated to promoting the grape through education, events, and advocacy, is co-sponsoring the day-long happening. Individuals and wine industry businesses are encouraged to use the hashtag “SauvBlanc” on social media platforms in order to interact from wherever they are. Tasting events in various locations are also taking place that day.

The event was started six years ago by St. Supéry Estate Vineyards and Winery as a way to engage a wide-ranging audience interested in Sauvignon Blanc. The winery continues to sponsor and champion the event and has worked to expand its scope considerably. Last year, Summertime in a Glass, along with New Zealand Wine, joined St. Supéry in partnering to put on International SauvBlanc Day.

The popularity and reach of the event has grown significantly over the years. In addition to the social media campaign, several tasting events are taking place in various locations. Wineries, retailers, and others in the industry are being encouraged to become “Sauv Blanc Ambassadors” by putting on their own local activities to celebrate the grape.

“The idea of International #SauvBlanc Day is to connect fans of the grape everywhere,” said Bryan Dias, Executive Director of Summertime in a Glass. “That can mean enjoying a special flight at a winery or simply joining the social media conversation online by sharing thoughts and ideas about Sauvignon Blanc.”

For those interested in participating online on April 24, individuals can tag posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest with “#SauvBlanc.” The hashtag can also be searched and followed on those platforms as way to see what others are saying. People are encouraged to share food pairing ideas, photos relevant to the varietal, favorite memories, and more. Purchasing and enjoying a bottle or two of Sauvignon Blanc and posting photos of the experience, thoughts, and tasting notes is another great way to get involved. Participation ideas, social media feeds, and more can be found at

For those in the industry, such as wineries, utilizing the hashtag on social media platforms is an excellent way to expose brands. Offering special tastings, promotions, or vineyard tours on-site is another way to get involved. Engaging guests to participate while they are in the tasting room is also easy and fun way to get the conversation going at a place of business.

Wineries and others that plan to put on activities connected to #SauvBlanc can visit the website for resources, an event listing form, and more. Individuals can also find events to attend by visiting the site.

Summertime in a Glass Homepage –

Event Homepage –

( still works fine as well.)

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This month, Babich Wines is celebrating its 100th vintage, 99 years after the founder, Josip Babich, produced and bottled his first wine at just 20 years old.

Babich Wines Managing Director, Joe Babich, expects the historic 2015 vintage to be a good one, although supply could be down across New Zealand due to the dry weather this summer. Grapes are being harvested at their Hawke’s Bay, Auckland and Marlborough vineyards, and to coincide with the delivery of their Hawke’s Bay handpicked Merlot this week (destined for their flagship ‘The Patriarch’ wine) the company will have an internal celebration to toast 100 vintages and reflect on the past.


According to Joe, founder Josip was an honest businessman, whose approach to winemaking was built on integrity, hard work and delivering value to the customer.

“Can you imagine today, what it would mean for a 14-year-old boy to leave his parents and join his brothers to earn a living on the other side of the world? This journey was the humble beginnings for Josip, whose honest hard work and determination set the way for generations to come,” says Joe. “His traditional values still guide the business today.

“Babich Wines has been the livelihood of three generations and is extremely successful both in New Zealand and globally. I am very proud of what my father first started all those years ago and we have remained true to his vision ever since by producing quality wines that stand up to the very best the world has to offer.”

To top off the 100th vintage milestone, Joe and Peter Babich were both inducted into the New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards this month. This comes hot on the heels of Joe being named as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year’s Honours List.

Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, agrees that the centenary and 100th vintage are important milestones, not just for Babich but also for the New Zealand wine industry as a whole.

‘Babich Wines and generations of the Babich family are exemplars of all that has made New Zealand wine such an inspiring international success story,” says Philip. “From humble beginnings, with hard work, with enormous dedication and with great vision they have built a highly successful wine business. Their individual enterprise has always been coupled with unwavering service to the wider New Zealand wine industry, for which they are applauded and recognised by their peers.’

For more information on Babich Wines, the people and the products visit

Jennifer Boyes, Salt & Pepper PR
Phone: +64 21 667 873

John Lang, Babich Wines Sales & Marketing Manager
Phone: +64 21 718 741


Cellar doors of Hawke’s Bay’s finest wineries come to you

Hot Red Hawke’s Bay is the must-do event of the year for wine lovers, when the cellar doors of the region’s finest wineries come to you.

Immerse yourself in the exceptional 2013 and 2014 vintages that will be talked about for years to come, meet the passionate wine makers behind the region’s diverse wines and pre-order shipments of your favourite tipple.

There will be an impressive range of wines to savour – from elegant chardonnays through to rich, peppery syrah and exciting emerging varieties.

Tickets: $40 per person, including complimentary nibbles.

For the first time in its 12-year history, Hot Red Hawke’s Bay will also have an exclusive Wine Master Class with a Hawke’s Bay wine expert. These 30-minute sessions are strictly limited and will sell out fast. Starting at 1pm for trade and 6pm for the public shows, tickets are an additional $10 per person.

To book tickets, go to

About Hawke’s Bay Wine Region:

  • Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s oldest wine region with beginnings in 1851. It is now, also, the second largest.
  • One of the sunniest regions in New Zealand, the climate in Hawke’s Bay is similar to Bordeaux
  • The majority of the Hawke’s Bay’s wineries are family-owned, providing a true artisan experience. The total Hawke’s Bay 2014 vintage was just over 44,500 tonnes – currently 64% is white wine and 36% is red wine. Chardonnay, Cabernet Merlot varieties and Syrah combined make up 49% of the vintage.
  • Of the 266 vineyards within the region, 96.2% are Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand accredited.Prepared on behalf of Hawke’s Bay Wine Association by Goode PR.  For further information please contact Hayley McLarin at Goode PR on (09) 480 9948,

Special New Event to Showcase Matakana and Auckland Wines

Calling all wine lovers – an exciting new charity wine tasting and auction event is coming to Matakana this May. Organised by Warkworth Rotary Club, Raise A Glass will bring together winegrowers from Matakana and the greater Auckland area for one big celebration of wine at the picturesque Ascension Wine Estate.

raise a glass The event will kick off on Saturday 9 May with a wine tasting from 3pm, giving event goers the opportunity to sample wines from a range of growers in one place and soak up the autumn sun while enjoying wood fired pizzas which will be available to purchase from onsite restaurant, Ascension Osteria. Local Latin music trio, Latakana will keep everyone entertained throughout the afternoon with their eclectic mix of jazz, blues, reggae and ska.

Following the wine tasting, a special charity auction will begin at 5.30pm with a range of excellent wine and non-wine auction items up for grabs. One stand out item in the non-wine category that is sure to be popular is a special trip to Queenstown to stay at The Rees Hotel situated right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

Proceeds from the auction and ticket sales will go to principal charity recipient, the Well Foundation and other local causes.

The Well Foundation is the official fundraising body for Waitemata District Health Board which operates North Shore and Waitakere hospitals and is responsible for the region’s primary healthcare and other community services that run through more than 30 sites across Waitemata.

“There are two key reasons we decided to put on this new event,” says Warkworth Rotary Club President, Robin Dixon. “We wanted to present to a wine-loving audience an experience that is truly unique and showcase wines from Matakana and Auckland. Also at the heart of every Rotary event is a good cause and we’re thrilled to team up with the Well Foundation to assist the great work they do supporting our local health services,” says Dixon.

Ascension will be offering a 10% discount to ticket holders who pre book lunch or dinner at Ascension Osteria before or after the event.

Event tickets are strictly limited and available now at $25 from Ascension Wine Estate or online from

To keep up with the latest news and event updates, like the Facebook page at

Raise A Glass

Where: Ascension Wine Estate, 480 Matakana Road, Matakana

When: Saturday 9 May 2015, wine tasting 3pm – 5pm, charity auction 5.30pm – 7pm

Cost: $25 per ticket – entry to the entire event. Food available from Ascension Osteria for an additional cost

For more information and images please contact: Laura Stenberg on 09 484 6081 (DDI), 021 141 1861 (Mobile) or email

The Well Foundation is the official fundraising body for the Waitemata DHB, which operates North Shore and Waitakere hospitals and health services for Auckland’s North, West and Rodney communities. For more information, visit

New Zealand Cellar Launching Exciting Kickstarter Crowdfunding Project

The New Zealand Cellar is launching an exciting crowdfunding project to raise funds for its first retail shop. Director Melanie Brown is looking for £35,000 to be part of a one-off retail, events and office opportunity in Brixton, London and has only two weeks to raise the money. The New Zealand Cellar will then have only another fortnight to transform what is essentially a shell into a captivating retail space. Quite the challenge!

The premium online wine company is raising the money on crowdfunding website Kickstarter, which offers ‘rewards’ for pledges. People can donate however much they choose and The New Zealand Cellar is offering eight tiers of rewards for pledges starting from £10 up to £1000+. These rewards include tickets to the launch party of the retail space, limited-edition New Zealand winery prints, Riedel tasting glasses and private wine events with Melanie and her team.

Accompanying the Kickstarter campaign is a short video about the project with some passionate support from heavyweights of the wine trade and beyond in New Zealand and the UK. These include Sean Fitzpatrick, former All Black; Bob Campbell MW, wine writer and educator; Jamie Goode, wine journalist and NZ wine specialist; Matthew Jukes, wine buyer, judge and journalist; Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier; Peter Gordon, Executive Chef at The Providores and Tapa Room and The Sugar Club; Peter McCombie MW, wine journalist and educator; Roger Jones, Michelin Starred chef and wine writer; Tania Bearsley, President of the New Zealand Society UK; as well as New Zealand wine producers. The company is embarking on an exhaustive Social Media campaign and hopes this video will be shared far and wide.

The £35,000 asked for is the minimum amount required for The New Zealand Cellar to build, design and fit their first outlet, from everything from shelves and light fittings to new systems and training. The walls will be lined with their full range of New Zealand’s finest wines, to be available seven days a week. Customers can also taste and buy by the glass or carafe any of the 12 wines being served that day to enjoy at the site. The late licence and event space within the development also offer endless tasting and event opportunities which Melanie plans to extend to travelling winemakers when they visit London.

The reason for the transition from online-only to physical retail space is simple, according to Melanie: to engage, promote and educate customers about New Zealand wine in the UK; to support producers by celebrating New Zealand wine face-to-face with customers.
“We want to create a retail space here that the New Zealand wine industry would be proud of,” she says. “By pledging to support us in becoming London’s first New Zealand wine retail outlet people will be helping to grow the reputation of premium New Zealand wine in the UK and giving it the recognition it deserves. If we can change the perception of just a small group of consumers each week and educate them to spend a few extra
pounds on fine NZ wine, our goals will be achieved.”

The New Zealand Cellar is an online store offering outstanding New Zealand wines to customers in the UK and Europe. The company opened in June 2014 and is celebrated for embracing the very best wines from the country’s finest vineyards. Offering 200 wines from 72 producers, it focuses on boutique wineries and small producers and offers the most diverse wine platform of its kind in the UK. Founded by wine expert Melanie Brown, her passion, palate and knowledge of the most interesting and rare New Zealand wines is second to none. Melanie was the lead developer of the renowned wine list at London’s The Providores and Tapa Room restaurant, helping it to achieve the largest premium list of New Zealand wines in Europe.

For information and imagery contact Melanie Brown at
Twitter: @NZcellar

Matua crowned Winemaker of Year and Champion Wine of Show

Chief Winemaker Nikolai St George added some impressive bling to the Matua awards cabinet on Saturday night at the 2015 New Zealand Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, triumphing over all to take home the Royal Easter Show Trophy for Champion Wine of the Show in addition to the Pullman Hotels Trophy for Champion Syrah for the 2013 Matua Single Vineyard Matheson Syrah. With an additional two gold medals, 10 silver and two bronze, St George then took to the stage again to claim the Royal Agricultural Society Gold Medal for Wine Maker of the Year, which he also won in 2013.

Nikolai St George Matua Winemaker

This is the second time in six months that both the 2013 Matua Single Vineyard Matheson Syrah has been New Zealand’s star Syrah and that St George has won the ultimate winemaker title at a major show. In September the Syrah was awarded two trophies – Champion NZ Syrah and Champion Shiraz/Syrah –  at New Zealand’s largest wine competition, the New Zealand International Wine Show, and St George was crowned Nissan NZ Champion Winemaker of the Show. The Syrah also took the trophy for Champion Exhibition Red Wine at the 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards in November, making it a clean sweep of trophies across New Zealand’s three most prestigious wine shows and the third consecutive year that St George has been awarded Winemaker of the Year.

St George was elated to see his favourite wine again take the critics by storm. “This is only the second time we’ve made a single vineyard Syrah at Matua, and each time it’s been a trophy winner. We only make it in small quantities – all of our single vineyard wines are made from small hand-selected fruit parcels from our best vineyards – and it really is cool climate Syrah at its absolute best,” he said.

“Just the other week it pipped a well-known Aussie Shiraz in the New Zealand Winegrowers Great Trans-Tasman Wine Challenge – it’s great to see a New Zealand Syrah do so well considering it is a varietal traditionally dominated by Australian wineries.

“I’m also rapt to have been awarded gold for our 2014 Matua Regional Sauvignon Blanc, which is impressive for a wine that you can buy for around $15.

“Congratulations must go out to the Matua winemaking and viticultural family for producing the most elegant wine that we’ve ever made from our Matheson Vineyard and for their relentless dedication, ” he said.Matua Single Vineyard Hawkes Bay Matheson Syrah 2013

The Royal Easter Show Wine Awards is New Zealand’s longest running national wine competition, held every year at the Auckland Showgrounds. In 2015 there were over 1200 entries. It presents a forum for the country’s leading winemakers, as judges, to experience first-hand the best efforts of their peers and gain knowledge to improve their own winemaking.

In addition to 10 Silver and two Bronze medals, Matua’s accolades at the 2015 Royal Easter Show Wine Awards are as follows:

Wine Vintage Award
Nikolai St George, Matua Chief Winemaker Royal Agricultural Society Gold Medal forWINE MAKER OF THE YEAR
Matua Single Vineyard Matheson Syrah 2014 Royal Easter Show TROPHY for CHAMPION WINE OF THESHOWPullman Hotels TROPHY for CHAMPIONSYRAHGOLD
Matua Regional Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014 GOLD

About Matua: Matua began forty years ago with a vision shared by Bill and Ross Spence – to revolutionise the New Zealand wine industry by making wines with the best fruit from the best vineyards. A philosophy that still stands today.

It’s hard to separate New Zealand and Sauvignon Blanc these days, but Matua was the first to put them together, producing the country’s first bottle in 1974. Not just about producing great Sauvignon Blanc – Matua is also committed to being world leaders in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and today it is one of New Zealand’s most awarded and internationally acclaimed wineries.

Matua wines include the fruit driven Regional Range (teal label), the lighter in alcohol and calorie Regional First Frost Sauvignon Blanc, the Lands & Legends Series, and the Single Vineyard Collection.

For Media Enquiries, contact:
Zoe Lane, PR Manager,
T: +61 3 8533 3576  M: +61 447 679 332




Trophy win for Vidal Estate Chardonnay at Royal Easter Show Wine Awards

Trophy win for Vidal Estate Chardonnay at Royal Easter Show Wine Awards


Vidal Legacy Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2013 has been awarded the chardonnay trophy at the 2015 Royal Easter Show Wine Awards held on the 14th March 2015. Vidal Estate Winemaker Hugh Crichton is over the moon that his signature varietal, Chardonnay, was so highly regarded at the iconic event.

“This result reflects our passion and love for this truly great variety. Great vineyards, ideal climatic conditions in Hawke’s Bay combine with people both in the vineyard and winery who “understand” chardonnay. The natural elements of the soils climate and vines set the potential but it’s the people who capture this with style, creativity and quality in mind. It was just last week that The Wine Spectator, one of the world’s most influential wine magazines identified Hawke’s Bay as one of the most overlooked fine wine regions of the world. I don’t think there is any question there are examples of Hawkes Bay chardonnays that have contributed to this feeling. Without question we have chardonnay that is competing on the international stage with some of the highest quality wines of the world.”

The Vidal Legacy Chardonnay has been highly revered, winning many accolades in the last year alone such as Champion Wine of the Show and Trophy at the Air NZ Wine Awards, Champion Wine of the Show and Trophy at the Bragato Wine Awards as well as the Top White Wine trophy at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards.

Vidal Estate Trophy winner
Vidal Legacy Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2013

For further information contact:
Jennifer Watts – PR Manager
Tel: +64 (9) 255 1754 Email:
Hugh Crichton – Vidal Estate Winemaker
Tel: + 64 (6) 872 7444 Email:

Trophy and Heritage Rose Bowl for Villa Maria

Trophy and Heritage Rose Bowl for Villa Maria at 2015 Royal Easter Show Wine Awards

Villa Maria New ZealandVilla Maria Estate has hit the ground running for 2015 winning the Pinot Noir Trophy at this year’s Royal Easter Show Wine awards. A great moment of the evening was being awarded the Heritage Rose Bowl for the 2003, 2008 & 2013 Cabernet Merlot. The Heritage category was introduced to identify and reward wines that have evidenced a capacity to develop grace and complexity over time and offer a guide to consumers and wine lovers about cellaring potential of such wines.

Picking up the award on behalf of the Villa Maria team was Helen Morrison, Marlborough Winemaker who comments: “It was a great pleasure to receive the Champion Pinot Noir trophy for our 2012 Villa Maria Seddon Single Vineyard Pinot Noir on behalf of the Marlborough team. 2012 was an unusually cool, long growing season, so it’s great to see such a well-balanced intense Pinot Noir rewarding the patience of the Seddon Viticultural team. The vineyard site on the southern banks of the Awatere River is sheltered from cool southerly winds with deep papa soils therefore consistently produces wines with lifted fragrant aromatics and ethereal textures and concentrated red fruits.”

Alastair Maling MW – General Manager of Winemaking who collected the Heritage Rose Bowl, the trophy that recognises three vintages of the same wine over a 10 year period made reference to the fact that we often drink our wines to young. “If we can have the patience to hold wine or the confidence to purchase an older vintage at a restaurant, as consumers, we will have a much more pleasurable experience. Wine shows typically reward the most recent vintages. Therefore, without a category that specifically reflects on consistency of a single wine over a 10 year period, the story about ageability is lost. Many of New Zealand’s wines will and can age, at Villa Maria, we will release a top level wine then hold it back and re-release once it has some bottle age, something we feel benefits the growing food and wine culture within our restaurants”.

These award wins follow what has been an incredible start to 2015, with Villa Maria being named the fourth Most Admired Wine Brand in the world, by drinks international magazine.

Villa Maria Trophy
Villa Maria Cabernet Merlot 2002, 2008 & 2013 awarded the Heritage Rose Bowl
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Noir 2012

Villa Maria Gold medals
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 2014
Villa Maria Reserve Marlborough Chardonnay 2013
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Keltern Chardonnay 2013
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Noir 2012
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir 2012

This is the 62nd Royal Easter Show with 1,222 wines entered into this year’s competition.
Please Contact:

Jennifer Watts PR Manager
Tel: +64 (9) 2551754
Alastair Maling MW General Manager, Winemaking
Tel: +64 (9) 2550676

Introducing the next generation at Forrest Wines

Doctors’ John and Brigid Forrest are excited to welcome home to Forrest Wines their daughter Beth. John says that “for Brigid and I this is a significant step in safe guarding the future of our family business. All 3 of our children have grown up here at Forrest; they have been a part of numerous harvests, worked in the vines and more importantly understood the manic hours their parents worked”.

Beth will join John and Dave Knappstein as winemakers for Forrest. Beth says that “I am here to learn as much as I can from John and Dave; to take all their knowledge and add some of my own experience and continue to create great quality wines made with passion. I am hoping neither of them are about to go anywhere.”

After a number of years travelling the world, Beth returned home to Marlborough in 2013 to spend some more time developing her local knowledge and experience. Prior to this, Beth chased vintages around the world – working in Italy, Spain, America, Australia and the UK to mention but some. Beth brings with her a wealth of knowledge, vibrancy, youth and an infectious passion for winemaking.

Beth, as with John and Brigid was educated at Otago University where she gained a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Physical Geography and Microbiology before heading to Adelaide University where she obtained their prestigious Masters in Oenology.

Beth has been tasked with the challenge of continuing the innovative, cutting edge and the sometimes mad scientist theories that have made Forrest what it is today. For Brigid she said “it is humbling for John and I to see the pride and passion that all our children have for the business”.

Beth is a bit coyer on what her homecoming means; “I want to respect the business we have developed and the passion and knowledge that is already a part of Forrest’s ethos; building on that and developing a company that is even stronger and in tune than when I was allowed to be a part of it.”

“I want to add some new life and modernity to Forrest but not lose the belief, ingenuity, passion and feeling that is Forrest Wines.”

For further information please contact: Samantha Forrest on 027 9029328

Forrest Wines is a family owned business, unique in owning land in 4 of the great terroirs of New Zealand; Marlborough, Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay, Waitaki Valley, North Otago and Bannockburn, Central Otago.

Drs John and Brigid Forrest established the winery in 1988 and remain hands on in all aspects of the family wine business.

Forrest Wines is home of The Doctors. The Doctors’ range focuses on Innovation and Excellence within winemaking and viticulture.

Forrest Wines produce wines under the brands; Forrest, The Doctors’, John Forrest Collection, Newton Forrest and TattyBogler.

Villa Maria named fourth most admired wine brand in the world

Today, Drinks International, one of the most trusted and respected global drink journals, named Villa Maria as the fourth most admired wine brand in the world, the only New Zealand winery to make the top 10 list. More than 200 of the world’s top masters of wine, sommeliers, educators and journalists took part in the annual poll, which pits wine brands from all regions, styles and qualities against each other.

The Academy of Masters of Wine, sommeliers, educators and journalists were tasked with critiquing and recognising the ‘Most Admired Wine Brands’ in the world and measured against the following list:

  • The wine should be of consistent or improving quality
  • It should reflect its region or country of origin
  • It should respond to the needs and tastes of its target audience
  • It should be well marketed and packaged
  • It should have strong appeal to a wide demographic

Holly Motion, editor of the World’s Most Admired Wine Brands said: “The Academy is no longer turning to new brands, but rather drawing from a pool of established names that have proven themselves to be consistent, respected global leaders.”

Sir George Fistonich, Founder and CEO of Villa Maria Estate, was elated with the accolade. “To be number one in New Zealand and fourth in the world is truly phenomenal, especially considering there is estimated to be over 100,000 wineries globally. It’s such amazing recognition for Villa Maria as well as New Zealand. New Zealand is a very young wine producing country so to achieve fourth place, in such a prestigious competition, with old world leaders such as Torres, Château d’Yquem and Château Margaux is a huge source of pride. I’m incredibly proud.”

Here at Villa Maria, our story is simple. It began with one man’s love of wine and grew into a dream that culminated in becoming New Zealand’s most awarded winery. It’s a story of absolute passion, determination and vision.

Read more : HERE
The top 10 wine brands:
1) Torres (Spain)
2) Vega Sicilia (Spain)
3) Penfolds (Australia)
4) Villa Maria (New Zealand)
5) Château d’Yquem (France)
6) Casillero del Diablo (Chile)
7) Ridge (USA)
8) Château Margaux (France)
9) Guigal (France)
10) Cono Sur (Chile)