Raise A Glass Wine Tasting And Charity Auction A Hit

Over 150 wine enthusiasts flocked to the stunning Ascension Wine Estate in Matakana on 9 May for Warkworth Rotary Club’s Raise A Glass Wine Tasting and Charity Auction.

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The wine tasting from 3pm to 5pm gave attendees the opportunity to sample wines from more than 10 local wine growers before an exciting auction from 5.30pm.

Over 27 wine and non-wine action items went under the hammer on the night giving bidders the chance to battle it out for “one of a kind” or “last ever” bottles of wine and special experiences.

Top selling items on the night included a catered excursion on the Mahurangi River for up to 50 people which went for $2,650 and 3 bottles of 2010 Larose from Stonyridge Vineyard that sold for $1,050.

Warkworth Rotary Club president, Robin Dixon says the team was thrilled with the event which would not have been possible without the support of the local community.

“From our generous sponsors, Withers & Co, Webster Malcolm Law and New World Warkworth, to all of the wineries and organisations that donated fantastic auction items or came to sample wine at the event, we are incredibly grateful,” says Dixon. “We were so pleased to have so many people get behind the event and help make it a success with great money raised for our charity recipient.”

The event raised a much appreciated $10,000 for the Well Foundation, which is the official fundraising body of Waitemata District Health Board. The foundation will put the money towards a new $195,000 mobile health clinic which will visit early childhood centres, schools, community events, and many other communal areas within the Waitemata district right out to Kaukapakapa and Helensville.

The mobile clinic is focused on doing ear checks, general health check-ups, throat swabbing as part of the Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme, and providing instant treatment where possible. Without this mobile service, many would miss out on getting the health care they need, often only ending up in hospital when their problem develops into something more serious.

Raise A Glass will return next year in May and with the organising committee already focused on planning, it promises to be bigger and better in 2016.

To be the first to know when tickets go on sale and keep up with new announcements, like the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RaiseAGlassMatakana.


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

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 www.wellfoundation.org.nz.

New National Coordinator for NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition

New National Coordinator for NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition

Nicky Grandorge has been appointed as the new National Coordinator for NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year.  Nicky takes over from Emma Taylor, a previous winner of the title, who has achieved tremendous growth and recognition for the competition over the last few years.

Nicky Grandorge (left) and Emma Taylor (right)

Nicky Grandorge (left) and Emma Taylor (right)

Grandorge brings with her a wealth of experience from many years in the wine industry and plans to grow the competition even further.  She is a WSET Certified Educator and says she is delighted to be involved in such a positive event, which helps encourage and develop young professionals within the industry.  “Not only does it further their own careers through extended learning and networking, but strengthens the skills and relationships within the viticultural sector as a whole, offering an even stronger and exciting future for New Zealand winegrowing.  It is a fantastic event to be a part of, with a very passionate team of organisers around the country.”

Regional Finals are held throughout July. Regional winners then compete for the title of national Young Viticulturist of the Year during the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato National Conference in August.  “The final is tough. It tests a wide range of skills and knowledge, both practical and theoretical, and culminates in each finalist delivering a speech to hundreds of industry members at the Bragato dinner” said Ms Grandorge.  The winner not only claims the title and a significant prize package, but goes on to compete at the Young Horticulturalist of the Year as the sole representative for viticulture.

A photo of Nicky Grandorge (left) and Emma Taylor (right) is attached.

For more information regarding the competition contact:

Nicky Grandorge
NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year National Coordinator
Ph: 021 780948

New Entry Criteria for New World Wine Awards 2015 Adds Depth to the Competition

New World Wine Awards 2015

Entries are now open for the New World Wine Awards 2015, with a change to entry requirements giving smaller wineries and more limited releases the opportunity to participate in what has become one of New Zealand’s leading wine shows.

Chair of the independent judging panel, Jim Harré, said reducing the number of bottles needed for sale in order to be eligible for entry should enable more smaller, boutique wineries to take part in this competition, while still ensuring consumers have access to sufficient quantities of medal-winning wines.

“The big difference between the New World Wine Awards over other wine shows is the focus on the consumer, which is reflected in the fact that to be eligible for entry wines must be priced at $25 or less and there must be at least a certain number of bottles available for sale,” he said.

The minimum number of bottles required has reduced from 6,000 to 5,000 bottles, with further reductions to the minimum stockholding for lesser-known varietals such as some aromatics and dessert wines.

“The change to the entry requirement is also designed to encourage emerging new varietals, which are typically made in smaller quantities, to be entered in the awards. This ultimately gives consumers nationwide the chance to get to know some of the lesser-known varietals by trying medal-winning wines that have been judged by an independent panel of expert wine judges,” said Mr Harré.

For winemakers, especially smaller wineries, a key benefit from winning medals at the New World Wine Awards is wide exposure and distribution, as well as the distinction of an award that recognises quality on the same basis as all other highly regarded wine shows. Winning wines are guaranteed national distribution through the 135 New World stores nationwide and extensive brand exposure from a high profile marketing campaign, driving sustained sales.

Hugo McCallum of New Zealand’s first Maori-owned wine company Tohu Wines in Marlborough attests to the value that winning medals at the New World Wine Awards delivers in helping to build the profile of small wineries that might otherwise find it hard to reach consumers nationwide.

“The benefits of Tohu Sauvignon Blanc’s Gold medal win at the New World Wine Awards 2014 have far exceeded our expectations. As a result of the guaranteed distribution that comes with a medal win, we’ve seen a phenomenal jump in sales of 36% on the previous year.

“Beforehand you could only find Tohu Wines in selected wine stores dotted around the country, but we can now confidently tell consumers that they just need to look in their local New World.”

The New World Wine Awards is judged by an independent panel of 13 expert wine judges who blind-taste each wine. This years’ judging will take place over three days at Wellington’s Te Papa museum in August, using the same internationally recognised 20-point system as other leading wine shows to ensure the winning wines are the best example of their type. The only difference is that all wines entered must retail for below $25 a bottle and there must be a minimum quantity of bottles available, responding to consumer demand for high quality but affordable and accessible wines.

This year the judging panel will include international guest judge Dr Rowald Hepp, the director and head winemaker of Schloss Vollrads in the Rhine Valley of Germany, a castle and wine estate that has been making Riesling for over 800 years.

The judges will award Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, with the best wines in each category re-tasted to determine the Champion wine of each varietal, plus the overall Champion Red and Champion White.

The results of the New World Wine Awards are eagerly anticipated by consumers, as is reflected in sales. In the first six weeks of the 2014 results being announced in September, 282,000 bottles of the ‘Top 50’ wines with a retail value of $4.2 million flew off New World shelves.

Entries to the New World Wine Awards 2015 close on Friday, 26 June. All details can be found online. For more information or images, please contact:

Lisa van Boekhout
04 499 9111

Wine Regions of New Zealand – A Visitor’s Guide by Phil Parker

Wine Regions of New Zealand – A Visitor’s Guide by Phil Parker

Just released on http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X97LZSM

An informative and entertaining guide to New Zealand’s wine history, grape varieties, soil types, and grape growing regions. Includes detailed information on cellar doors, vineyard restaurants and regional activities.

CoverThis book is designed to be a handy guide for anyone keen to know more about the grape varieties grown in New Zealand, and to explore the flavour and colour of our unique heartland regional winery cellar doors.

Each of the regions from north to south has its own distinctive scenery, from snow-capped mountains, to rolling green countryside, to breath-taking golden beaches. Any time of year is a good time to visit, a sunny summer outdoor tasting overlooking neat rows of lush green vines, or sampling in a cosy winter cellar door with a blazing log fire.

Picture of the Author Phil Parker

In order to enable the wine fan to get the most out of each region, the book has divided New Zealand into separate regions and sub-regions. Detailed, up-to-date information is provided on wineries, wine styles, hours of operation, vineyard café or restaurant, and pricing. Also included are suggestions on vineyard accommodation, attractions, artisan foods, and local history.

“I have designed it to be an informative and entertaining guide to New Zealand’s wine history, grape varieties, soil types, grape growing regions, local activities and winery dogs!” says Phil.

It is the most comprehensive and up-to-date NZ regional winery guide available.  As a mobile-device-friendly publication it is aimed to help the interactive traveler to explore our fantastic wine regions.

Here is the web link to the Amazon listing for the book:

Find out more about Phil on his Blog:

Introducing Forrest Wines National Distributor

Doctors’ John and Brigid Forrest; along with the team at Forrest Wines are excited to welcome CoPilot Distributors as their new nationwide distributor for their brands Forrest and The Doctors’.

CoPilot have for some time distributed Forrest and The Doctors’ wines across the South Island but the recent allocation of our North Island distribution to CoPilot as well is an exciting step towards streamlining our national distribution throughout New Zealand for Forrest and The Doctors’. CoPilot also has the national distribution for Forrest’s TattyBogler brand.

CoPilot Contact:
Co Pilot Distributors
PO Box 588
Phone: +64 9 412 9137
Fax: +64 9 412 9147
Email: steve@copilotdistributors.co.nz
Web: http://www.copilotdistributors.co.nz

For further information please contact: Samantha Forrest on 027 9029328 or samantha@forrest.co.nz

Website: http://www.forrest.co.nz

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.

Hawke’s Bay Harvest Bodes Well for a Stellar Vintage

The Hawke’s Bay wine region looks set to enjoy its third consecutive year of great vintages.

With picking nearly complete, Hawke’s Bay grape growers and wine makers are optimistic that this will be another good year, following exemplary vintages in 2013 and 2014. Hawkes Bay is the first region to forecast the quality of this year’s vintage following harvest.

“Most would be considering this to be a very good, solid vintage,” Michael Henley, Chair of the Hawkes Bay Winegrowers Association (HBWG) and CEO of Trinity Hill Wines, says.

“There are few regions that are able to claim three great vintages in a row. We have had really good fruit and yields are down. Generally when yields are down, quality is better.”
The long, dry summer, coupled with little frost, resulted in excellent growing conditions in Hawke’s Bay, Xan Harding, the Deputy Chair of the HBWG Association and owner of Black Bridge Estate, says.

Some growers feared Cyclone Pam in March would impact the quality of the grapes but only the tail end reached the area and it was more like “a little drink for the vines”, says Harding. However, it was the rain events in early April that caused some of the 266 vineyards to harvest earlier than anticipated.

“More than 85 per cent of the grapes are in now. Overall we are confident of a good vintage, and Merlot and Chardonnay are likely to be stand outs,” veteran grower, Harding, says.

It is anticipated the harvest will echo last year. In 2014 two thirds of the 44,500 tonnes picked were made into white wine and one third was red wine, with Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah making up almost half of the vintage.

It will be late June, Henley predicts, before the Association will know exactly how many tonnes of grapes were harvested and the wine makers will be able to validate their optimism.

Wine connoisseurs can learn more about the vintage first-hand from the winemakers who are showcasing their ranges at Hot Red Hawke’s Bay wine expo in Auckland and Wellington in June.

For the first time Hot Red Hawke’s Bay’s 12-year history there will also be an exclusive Wine Master Class with four of the region’s most-respected wine experts – Hugh Crichton from Vidal Estate, Tony Bish from Sacred Hill, Tim Turvey from Clearview Estate Winery and John Hancock from Trinity Hill. For more information on Hot Red Hawke’s Bay and the Wine Master Class go to eventfinder.co.nz

Prepared on behalf of Hawke’s Bay Wine Association by Goode PR. For further information, or to arrange an interview please contact Hayley McLarin at Goode PR on (09) 480 9948, hayley@goodepr.co.nz

Coveted Vintages Make HOT RED a Must Do For Wine Lovers


They are the vintages that connoisseurs rave about and now wine lovers will be able to taste many of them, at this year’s Hot Red Hawke’s Bay wine shows.

The cellar doors of more than 30 of the region’s finest wineries come together for this popular event in Auckland and Wellington, with more than 200 wines to sample – including the legendary 2013 and 2014 vintages.

For the first time in the 12-year history, Hot Red Hawke’s Bay is offering exclusive Wine Master Classes led by four Hawke’s Bay experts. Winemakers Hugh Crichton from Vidal Estate and Tony Bish from Sacred Hill Winery will host the Wellington Wine Master Class. Tim Turvey the co-owner and winemaker from Clearview Estate Winery and John Hancock, the founder and owner of Trinity Hill, will run the Auckland Master Class.

“We are thrilled to have the pedigree of these presenters at our first-ever Wine Master Class. These four hosts are some of the New Zealand’s most-respected, award-winning and internationally-experienced winemakers,” James Medina, Hawke’s Bay Wine Growers Association Executive Officer, says.

“Together they have more than 100 year’s combined experience. Couple this knowledge with their charismatic personalities and passion for Hawke’s Bay wine and we are sure these classes will sell out fast.”

The 30-minute sessions will focus on the region’s elegant Chardonnays. Wine Master Classes are an additional $10 per person on the $40 ticket price for Hot Red Hawke’s Bay. To book tickets, go to Eventfinder.co.nz.

Hot Red Hawke’s Bay in Auckland, Wednesday, 10 June, 2015

Time: 6pm – 9pm (Wine Master Class 6pm – 6.30pm)

Maritime Room, Maritime Museum, 175 Quay Street.

Hot Red Hawke’s Bay in Wellington, Thursday, 11 June, 2015

Time: 6pm – 9pm (Wine Master Class 6pm – 6.30pm)

Mac’s Function Centre, Taranaki St Wharf.

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, hayley@goodepr.co.nz

Wineries attending Red Hot Hawke’s Bay:

Alpha Domus
Ant Mackenzie Wines
Ash Ridge Wines
Babich Wines
Beach House Wines (Wellington only)
Church Road Winery
Clearview Estate Winery
Craggy Range
Crossroads Wines
Cypress Wines
Easthope Winegrowers
Elephant Hill
Esk Valley
Lime Rock Wines
Mills Reef
Mission Estate Winery
Ngatarawa Wines
Osawa Wines (Auckland only)
Pask Winery
Rod McDonald Wines
Sacred Hill
Sileni Estates
Squawking Magpie
Stonecroft (Wellington only)
Te Awa Collection
Te Mata Estate
Tironui Wines (Auckland only)
Trinity Hill
Unison Vineyard
Villa Maria

About Hawke’s Bay Wine Region:

Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s longest-established wine-producing region
One of the sunniest areas 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. Of the 266 vineyards within the region, 96.2% are Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand accredited

Mission Estate Celebrates 30 Years of Barrel Fermented Chardonnay

The year was 1983, it was the year that Kiwi won the Melbourne Cup, Prince William made his first visit to New Zealand, Lorraine Downes was crowned Miss Universe, Lance Cairns hit his six sixes at the MCG and Microsoft first launched Word. It was also the year that Mission Estate winemaker, Paul Mooney, made New Zealand’s first handpicked, whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented Chardonnay. These traditional French techniques have since gone on to become industry best practice for producing premium New Zealand Chardonnay.

Huchet Chard Bottle & Box image (Medium)To mark its 30th consecutive vintage of producing barrel fermented Chardonnay, Mission Estate are set to release a limited edition Chardonnay under its prestigious Huchet label. The wine has been painstakingly crafted from the sublime 2013 vintage and is sure to be keenly sought out by Chardonnay connoisseurs from around the world.

Paul Mooney is now one of New Zealand’s most experienced and respected winemakers and remains at Mission Estate, where he now presides over a much larger winemaking operation. Despite the obvious advancements in technology since the early eighties, he still prefers the traditional approach for Chardonnay.

Paul says: “We rely heavily on hand harvesting and whole bunch pressing for our barrel fermented Chardonnays. We believe these traditional French techniques produce wines that over deliver in all the key sensory attributes.”

Every bottle of Mission’s limited edition 30th anniversary Huchet Chardonnay will be individually numbered and boxed. The wine will be officially released in April 2015 and will initially be exclusively available from the Mission Estate Cellar Door and online at www.missionestate.co.nz

Available from May 2015 – Huchet Chardonnay 2013 – RRP $89/bottle.


Prepared on behalf of Mission Estate Winery by the pr shop. For further information, please contact Lindsay Stanley, (09) 360 0385 or Lindsay@theprshop.co.nz.

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 SauvBlancDay.com.

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 SauvBlancDay.com for resources, an event listing form, and more. Individuals can also find events to attend by visiting the site.

Summertime in a Glass Homepage – http://www.SauvBlanc.org

Event Homepage – http://www.SauvBlancDay.com

(www.SummertimeInAGlass.org still works fine as well.)

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn


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 www.babichwines.co.nz.

Jennifer Boyes, Salt & Pepper PR
Phone: +64 21 667 873
Email: jennifer@saltandpepperpr.com

John Lang, Babich Wines Sales & Marketing Manager
Phone: +64 21 718 741
Email: john@babichwines.co.nz