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12 | Mahurangimatters 15 May 2013

matakana in may Rare chance to sample Matakana’s premium wines Nicki Haller is enjoying the sweet taste of success with this month’s tastings at The Vintry.

something. It’s not really aimed at elite wine drinkers,” says Nicki. As it happens, Ransom is celebrating the 20th anniversary of planting its first vines this year. Although it produced its first wine in 1996, the vines were planted three years prior.

Nicki is delighted to include the event in the Matakana in May tourist promotion, as she is passionate about supporting local winemakers. There is one exception, however, where she is happy to swim against the tide: “This is possibly the only wine bar in the

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world that doesn’t sell New Zealand sauvignon blanc,” she laughs. Matakana is also unique because all its wineries are family-owned, she notes. While locals are obviously deeply saddened by the receivership of Ascension, they are determined to remain positive and support each other, she says. Given the popularity of the Dark Summit tastings, she hopes similar events might follow. “Maybe other growers will be inspired to bring me library stock, too,” she grins. Meanwhile, food and wine lovers also have the inaugural Taste Matakana Celebration to look forward to this month. The free event will feature local produce from a dozen Matakana artisans, and will take place on May 18 at Morris & James Pottery, to coincide with their Harvest Sale. There will also be demonstrations and a chance for the public to try their hands at oyster shucking, kneading dough, tempering chocolate, and comparing different types of oil. Other events include the Winemaker’s Tuscan Dinner at Ascension on May 25, and the Morris & James Experience on May 29.

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If you haven’t already bought a ticket to a special event at Matakana wine bar The Vintry this month, you may have missed out. The wine bar is holding rare tastings of library stock from what is arguably Matakana’s best-known wine brand, Dark Summit, on May 19 and 22 — and interest has been so high an extra session was added. The Vintry’s owner, Nicki Haller, followed through on the idea after it was suggested by Ransom Wines owner Robin Ransom, who attended a similar event for industry insiders last month. Dark Summit is Ransom’s premium brand and it is very rare that a winemaker will share his or her library stock, says Nicki. “I think that Robin is just very, very kind to me, really.” For those who are unfamiliar with the term, “library stock” is wine kept by the winemaker for posterity, and to use as a reference for future vintages. “I would say that all winemakers keep libraries of their wines — they just don’t often open it to the public,” says Nicki. Robin will host the event and will start with older wines first, because they are the most fragile. He will then take the audience through each vintage. “Everybody is going to learn

take your senses on a culinary journey as you discover & taste the products and harvest of our local matakana coast artisans

Morris & James Pavillion Saturday 18 May 12-5pm

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Mahurangimatters 15 May 2013 | 13

Wine with Ben Dugdale mardale@clear.net.nz Chairman, Matakana Winegrowers Association

Wine and the tourism market Recently I attended the Trenz function at the Cloud on Queens Wharf in the city. On one day I assisted the indefatigable Liz Bays of Warkworth Area Business Association/Matakana Coast Wine Country, who for three long days met over 50 tourist operators whose job it was to find memorable, interesting and exciting New Zealand experiences. Each presenter is given about 15 minutes to pitch their business – or in Liz’s case, multitude of businesses — before a conch shell roars and everyone moves to the next 15-minute pitch. It’s kind of like speed dating really. Why was I there? To provide support by describing how Matakana Wines fit within domestic and international visitor experiences, and to gauge what people want when they visit a region like Matakana. And what they want is a personal, direct connection. As far as wine goes, they want to meet the winemaker and the viticulturist. They want to be told the how, what and why things are grown and made. They then want to taste the product, so they can understand the tastes, flavours and characters. If they like it, they’ll buy some and relate the experience when they return home. This is nothing new or different – witness Farmers’ Markets, for example. And by far the most successful technologies and software developments have been in the area of making connections between people. Talking of shared experiences, on the Wednesday night of Trenz the Bellini bar in the Hilton was transformed into a Matakana Market, with food and beverage producers manning stalls. We winegrowers brought along about 80 bottles from 12 different producers – which in itself drew looks of amazement. “I didn’t know you had so many winemakers?!” was a common refrain. And my personal favourite: “No sauvignon blanc? Oh, thank goodness.” These were a mixture of local and foreign media people. They were very keen to hear about Matakana wine and the stories behind the labels. All were impressed by the character and diversity of Matakana wine which went spectacularly well with the cheese, cured meats and other delectable goodies on offer. It was a great pleasure to talk about and discuss the wines with people who had never before tried a Matakana wine. At the end of the night, we packed up and the doorman of the Hilton gave me a chit for the carpark. Turns out he grew up in Leigh, went to Mahurangi College and cheerfully told me of his favourite experiences in the Matakana region. Another connection made.

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14 | Mahurangimatters 15 May 2013

matakana in may Exclusive handmade range of • Therapeutic creams • Massage oil blends • Moisturisers • Lotions PRODUCTS MADE ON REQUEST If there is a particular fragrance you like or a job you want your moisturiser to do i will individualise to your needs and requirements!! Ph 422 9083 • Fax 422 9084 • villagehealthshop@xtra.co.nz

Check Out What’s New Instore: • Clarendon Horse Boots exclusive to us • Mark Todd Turnout Horse Covers

FREE NECK RUG WITH RUGS PURCHASED IN MAY (VALUED AT OVER $120) • Cavallino Turnout Horse Covers combos/rugs

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Matakana Country Park No. 1 Omaha Flats Rd, Matakana Open Wednesday-Sunday 10am-4pm

www.matackana-equestrian.co.nz

The Matakana Information Centre is located in the foyer of Matakana Cinemas.

Volunteers provide answers

While many i-Sites around Auckland have closed in recent years, the Matakana Information Centre continues to thrive, thanks to its unique set-up. The centre is directed by a committee of locals, staffed by locals and supported almost entirely from local subscriber fees. Open 364 days a year, the centre is in the heart of the village in a space donated by the Brick Bay Trust. Enquiries from the local community have increased as Matakana Village has grown, but many enquiries also come from overseas and elsewhere in New 11th May to 11th June Zealand. They range from where to go Featuring Diane Scott, Glen Snow, Ian Peter Weston, Jamie Chapman, for the best coffee — a hotly contested Toby Raine and André Sampson. issue — to the best surfing, the history of the statue of King George V, and “the name of the lady selling the budgies”. 11th May to 11th June The centre is always keen to hear from local people interested in joining the Featuring Victoria James, Emma Wallace, Di Halstead, team. Full training is given, but basic Richard Collins, Ian Macdonald, The Vivian, computer skills are a must. Richard Smallfield and Barbara Cope. Volunteers regularly take part in familiarisation tours, visiting tourism 39 Omaha Valley Road, Matakana, RD5, Warkworth 0985, New Zealand providers and developing a thorough Phone +64 9 422 9995 knowledge of what is on offer in the Email thevivian@thevivian.co.nz area. These often end with a sampling www.thevivian.co.nz of local food and wine. OPEN: Daily 11.00am - 5.00pm or by appointment Info: Mike Dixon at matakanainfo@ xtra.co.nz

Art Gallery

Painting Now: Out of Elam

The Festival of Photography


Mahurangimatters 15 May 2013 | 15

matakana in may Dominic Burrell New Work 18 May to 9 June 2013 Preview Friday 17th May 5-7pm

Matakana Community Group members popped the champagne corks at their meeting this month. Pictured, from left, are Scott McCallum, Graeme Smith, Fiona Sowten and group chair Neville Johnson.

Piece Gallery Matakana Village | 09 422 9125 | gallery@piecegallery.co.nz www.piecegallery.co.nz open Mon-Fri 10-4, Sat 9-3, Sun 10-3

Cycleway route celebration

The Matakana-Omaha/Point Wells cycleway has cleared its last construction hurdle, in its downhill ride to the finish line. Having secured a bridge earlier this year, to cross the Matakana River the final ry & Matakana Cinem The Vintry and Matakana Cinemas present Vint as pre Th e obstacle along the 6km route was how se nt to get cyclists and walkers safely through “the cutting” on Leigh Rd, between Tongue Farm Rd and the roundabout. Last month, the group secured a 6m-wide easement along old Tongue Farm Rd, on the edge of the corner block formerly Remembering the classics owned by the Tucker family. Cycleway coordinator Scott McCallum says the easement solves a “Relax, catch-up and “huge” access problem. unwind with the girls. “It’s a dangerous stretch and we’d Enjoy a glass of wine explored all sorts of options to find a and a movie for $20 safe way through it, with little success,” he says. “We’d really like to thank the including a selection $20 including a glass Tucker family for approaching the group of sweet treats” and giving us the option of getting the of wine and nibbles easement as part of the sale of the land.” Every 3rd Tuesday of the month Every 2nd Monday of the month Members celebrated the outcome with champagne at its meeting this month. Meanwhile, Auckland Council is currently completing a survey of the bridge and doing an analysis on where it can be located. Depending on the results, the group hopes to see the 2 MATAKANA VALLEY ROAD, MATAKANA VILLAGE / structure in place before Christmas.

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Matakana in May  

Matakana in May - Feature