20 minute read

WINETOPIA

Delve deeper into the best of New Zealand wine at Winetopia this October

Or as Bob Campbell MW puts it, “It’s a simple formula. Put hundreds of top wines in one room, season with delicious foods, talks and masterclasses, and you will attract the very nicest people I’ve ever met.”

This year, Bob, one of New Zealand’s original masters of wine, will be joined by the country’s newest, Wellington-based Stephen Wong (MW) for the first time together at the Auckland event.

NZ WINE TOUR IN THE HEART OF AUCKLAND CITY Some of New Zealand’s most celebrated wineries, which also happen to be some the finest in the world, will be amongst the 60 showcasing hundreds of lovingly crafted wines. Meet the wine makers that have made this country’s wine their life’s work and taste delicious drops from Te Mata Estate, Craggy Range, Framingham, Greystone, Nautilus Estate, Palliser Estate, Man O’ War, Pegasus Bay, Escarpment, Prophet’s Rock and Quartz Reef to name a few. This year, you can also taste some of the most expensive wines in the country with a new ‘Golden Coins’ offering. Experience it all at the country’s largest cellar door.

FIND YOUR WINE MATCH Like the idea of your own private wine guru? Winetopia masterclasses are the closest thing to it (sort of). Enjoy an intimate 45 minute class with one of our leading, local wine gurus and sommeliers. Whether you’re serious about sparkling, prefer a bit of pinot noir, have an eye on ‘outside the box’ white wine varieties, or want to learn what wines go with which foods, there’s a masterclass for everyone. These tickets are always in hot demand and must be purchased before the event alongside your Winetopia session ticket. Strictly 25 tickets per class.

TEST YOUR TASTING PROWESS New for 2020, Winetopia brings you ‘Wine Blind’. Intimate, interactive and a lot of fun, go underground and tantalize your senses, as each wine tasted will be concealed until the big reveal after a series of clues by guest MCs. You get to guess the variety, region, vintage or something completely left field. Have you got what it takes?

‘SHARE A GLASS’ WITH... Suzy Cato, Antonia Prebble, Ben Hurley, Laughton Kora will all be hitting the main stage for a 20 minute Q&A with MC Mermaid Mary. The best part – everyone in the audience will literally be sharing a glass of the guest speaker’s favourite wine!

SHAKIN’ THINGS UP To close off the last hour of each session with a bang, Auckland based outfit Coco-Rocky will be hitting the main stage to send every wine lover off with a grin as wide as the Gimblett Gravels. With a repertoire focusing on 70s and 80s dance floor disco and funk, be prepared to go out in style at the end of your Winetopia experience!

STOCK UP ON THE ESSENTIALS Can’t wait to get your hands on the good stuff? A selection of the top wines from Winetopia are now available through winetree.co.nz. You can “Pick Your Own” mixed case of wine, or have a box sent direct from the wineries. Plus, every case purchased leads to a native tree being planted right here in New Zealand. Feel great about supporting local businesses, enjoying great wine and contributing to a stronger, healthier New Zealand in the process. From Central Otago Pinot Noir to Marlborough Methode or Waiheke Rosé – it’s all there at great prices and delivered to your door. Shop at winetree.co.nz

Sergio Maglione – Growing up on food and wine in Naples

Sergio Maglione is best known as the chef and owner of Farina Restaurant on Ponsonby Road. We caught up with him to discover what makes the Italians so passionate about their food and wine.

Growing up in Naples we didn’t just consume food and wine, we made it. Bread, olive oil, vinegar, wine – everything. I remember when I was growing up I used to love to go with my grandfather on one of his trips to a small village north of Naples. My family had a strong connection there. In this village my grandfather would buy grapes to make his own wine. I used to love these trips because we would also pick up delicious olives to make the olive oil. It was always like this, we would make wine for our family. If we ran out then another family would give us some of theirs and we would do the same. Many families in Italy still make their own wine today.

Wine in Italy is an important part of lunch and dinner. After school, my grandad would drop red wine in some soda water so the kids could try some too with our dinner. Wine is always served with food. Even if you are having a glass of wine to socialise you would still always have at least some good olives to go with it. I think you taste the wine on a different level when it is with food.

At Farina we try hard to keep that connection. While we have Italian wines as well, we are also very proud to support local especially in this challenging year. We work with Francesca and John Kirwan and their fantastic local Italian wine company JK14, and by the glass we are serving great New Zealand produced wines like the Deep Down Organic Pinot Noir and the McGeorge Chardonnay – I got to know the winemaker Simon through mutual hospitality friends, then fell in love with their wine!

The support for us from the local community here has been really amazing too. We invested a lot into the restaurant recently with upgrades including a new covered sun terrace. We were hoping that the community would continue to support us and they really have which means so much. We are looking forward to having all of these lock downs behind us so we can have a full restaurant once again.

On the Farina pop-up restaurant at Winetopia? The food we will be serving at Winetopia is all about freshness. We will use the best seasonal produce and create simple dishes including fresh pasta stirred in our parmesan wheel, beautiful New Zealand olive oil and ingredients to balance the wine and to let it sing. There will be some classic Farina dishes on the menu as well. We will serve some of our best food at the event and serve it quickly to make sure we provide a great service to our customers and help to make a fantastic overall experience.

Q&A WITH BOB CAMPBELL (MW) What do you look forward to most about Winetopia? Catching up with old friends and discovering new wines. I can cover more ground in an afternoon at Winetopia than treading the wine trail for a week.

Who are you excited to see at this year’s event (in terms of wineries)? I’m excited to see so many wineries from so many different regions. It’s not fair to single out just a few names from such a lineup of truly rock-star winemakers. It’s hard to know where to start ... and where to stop!

What can we expect from your Winetopia Auckland 2020 masterclasses? I’ve got a great selection of sparkling wine styles that will showcase the diversity and quality of NZ fizz. “Fun Facts and Serious Sparklers” will focus on the qualities I expect to find in great sparkling wine. “Pick of the Pinots” is all about my favourite wine style, pinot noir. We’ll examine different regional and wine making styles by tasting the best available. “Prestige Masterclass” is an indulgent tasting of the very best wines available at Winetopia. Expect the earth to move very slightly.

Which wines have particularly interested you this year? I’ve been enjoying wines from the 2019 and 2020 vintages, two spectacular harvests that put a big smile on the faces of most of the country’s winemakers.

FROM THE COUNTRY’S NEWEST MASTER OF WINE, STEPHEN WONG (MW) “It has become an annual ritual for many wine-loving Kiwis to stock up at Winetopia. I see it as the perfect opportunity for folks outside of the industry to experience what life is like for a wine-buyer, to be presented with a bewildering array of wine from all over New Zealand. The energetic yet casual atmosphere allows the space to talk to wineries and winemakers (often including local wine legends) and get the hottest takes in the wine world straight from the source. Savvy buyers also use it as an opportunity to stock up for the coming season’s wines based on actual tasting so you know that every bottle in your cellar is exactly your style. Given the breadth and diversity of wineries participating, it’s the equivalent of driving for two weeks around the country visiting cellar doors to cover as many wines as you would in one day at Winetopia. A great chance to fill up the boot of the car for months of enjoyment. I’ve heard so much about how lively the Auckland crowd is, so I’m coming prepared this October.”

ANGIE ATKINSON, THE WINE WRITER @thewinewriternz “I look forward to Winetopia every year. We’re all there to immerse ourselves in something we’re all passionate about; wine! Presenting at the show is so much fun. I love engaging with everyone who comes along and encouraging them to try wines they aren’t familiar with. Winetopia is the perfect platform to do this, with so many amazing wines all in one place. I can’t wait to see everyone again in October!”

Bob Campbell (MW)

Stephen Wong (MW)

Angie Atkinson

Well, it’s a funny old thing becoming a funny old thing. I turned 64 this year.

Pre-Covid, I had imagined a glorious semi-retired sunset lifestyle beyond my mid-sixties. A portfolio dilettante career of my favourite things: hosting wine tours, freelance journalism, wine writing and cartooning. But the universe had other plans. And all those commercial activities are now pretty well null and void due to border closures and economic downturn. I am now retired - by virtue of being unemployable.

I did inflict myself on a local company as a driver recently, but I lasted a mere five weeks because of my aversion to early starts and shift work. It did not help that I possess the navigational skills and sense of direction of a baked potato. We parted by mutual agreement. Their loss was also their gain, I’m sad to say.

But it’s not all bad. I’m lucky enough to have some savings to fall back on, and I look forward to a modest Govt superannuation next year. I also get to be more of a house husband, spend time with Mr. Merlot (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel), do home handyman projects and catch up with my dear friends. And of course, I’ll keep writing my monthly column for Ponsonby News. Anyway. Wine... Pierre Brecht Alsace Pinot Gris France 2018 - $20.89 Great value easy drinking and affordable Alsatian wine. Crisp and clean flavours of stone fruit, with a bit of minerality and a tad of clover honey. Just off-dry style that would go well with seafood of slightly spicy dishes. Sealed with a screwcap. Available: Glengarry Grower’s Mark Gisborne Chardonnay 2018 - $15 Appealing rich green gold colour in the glass. Stone fruit, citrus and vanilla on the nose. This wine is big and lush in the mouth. Creamy with a vibrant yeasty tang and a hint of butterscotch. A bargain. Good match - creamy seafood pasta or a rich chowder. Available: Widely. Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Aged Release Riesling 2010 - $40 A lovely mature wine with classic aged characters. Deep gold colour in the glass. Aromas of toffee and beeswax. Rich and complex flavours of grapefruit marmalade, nectarine and crème brûlée but with a crisp off-dry lengthy palate. Would be amazing with a selection of premium New Zealand cheeses. Available: Pegasus Bay wines.

Filigree West Auckland Field Blend 2017 - $26 From winemaker Renée Dale’s MOI Wine label, this syrah/merlot is an easy drinking spicy red, with minimal oak influence. A tiny bit of cabernet sauvignon and malbec have added to the tannin structure. Boysenberry, raspberry and cherry flavours with medium tannins. Great with a nice tomato-based pasta or meaty pizza. Available: Online at www.westbrook.co.nz Search: MOI wines.

Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Aged Release Pinot Noir 2010 - $65 Very classy pinot noir from top rated Pegasus Bay. A personal favourite of mine. Flavours of cherries, plums and black berry fruit. Savoury undertones of black olive and mushroom. Soft velvety tannins. Good

match for rich Italian tomato-based dishes.

Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Waipara Valley Aged Release Pinot Noir 2010 - $120 Epic North Canterbury reserve pinot noir. Pegasus Bay nails it again with this superb wine. Silky and generous with flavours of dark chocolate, cherry, poached spiced plums and a hint of Glühwein. Great with duck, mushroom dishes and Beef Wellington. Available: Pegasus Bay wines.

Rockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir 2019 - $39 A consistently brilliant pinot. Seamless and silky with classic Burgundian savoury spice flavour profile. Some subtle florals, with truffle, soy and spiced plum and black berry fruit. Soft tannins and lengthy aftertaste. A match for spiced roast duck and mushroom dishes. Available: Glengarry, Pt. Chev Organic Wines, Liquorland. (PHIL PARKER)  PN

www.finewinetours.co.nz

FINE WINE & FOOD TOURS

“No. 2 Auckland Wine Tour” – TripAdvisor

Your host, Phil Parker wine writer.

Affordable tours for small and large groups.

E: phil.parker@xtra.co.nz www.finewinetours.co.nz

Neighbourhood favourite launches new Bar

Garnet Station in Westmere turned 13 in August, a teenage milestone in a turbulent year.

To make a point she changed her image, cut her hair, and grew up all of a sudden. No more toys in the bedroom or cupcakes in the cake tin. The iconic coffee cup welcoming you to Westmere was replaced with Wellington art, monarch butterflies on the parapet drying their wings before flying free. There’s nothing as constant as change.

Now she is a bar: pretty, sophisticated, pink, pohutukawa red, coppery and candlelit, a match for any sunset straddling the clear sky of the city’s fringe. As she matured her tastes changed, even though she didn’t want the parents knowing she enjoyed a tipple. After a childhood shunning wicked deep fried food, she now sells it. A tad cynical, but something’s gotta kill you in this time of Covid-19, and it probably won’t be panko crumbed cauliflower.

She’s learning how to pour a tap beer without too much head, how hard and long you need to shake an espresso martini to make foam for the coffee bean to float on. At last she is a bar, with glorious food as an optional bonus, advised on a first date, not necessary with an anniversary, essential for a birthday. Garnet Station loves drama and celebration, hence the arrival of the Tiny Theatre. Then lo and behold, while no one is watching she gilds the gates, waterproofs the lane, commissions a mural, and behind newspapered windows toils in the summer heat with the help of local craftsmen to transform a loved café into the lovely bar Majenta!

No more rushed mornings, much less waste, time aplenty to talk, to play music, focus on fun, be a place for hilarity, for harmony, for a decent coffee when everyone else is closed, for a G&T after the bus ride home.  PN

www.garnetstation.com

Faces at Grey Lynn Farmers Market

Keria Paterson can be found selling Midnight Baker bread and crackers, at the market on Sunday mornings.

You are a university student? Yes, I’m in the final year of my communications degree with a film major. It has been a challenge this year with the lockdowns. We had practical assignments that we have had to do without having access to AUT’s specialist equipment and resources.

What are your plans after university? I want to network more and spend a year freelancing. I’m interested in getting involved with some local documentary projects, music videos, and whatever comes my way. Then I’d like to go back and do some post-grad work.

How long have you been working at The Midnight Baker? Over two years - I love the communal and strong ethical culture there.

What is your role? I represent the brand at the markets as well as being part of the production team. Our bread is popular with vegans, people with allergies and celiacs, because it only uses grains. There is no wheat, no eggs, no yeast and none of the usually binding agents. Instead we “set” the grains with chia seeds and psyllium husks, before baking it. I love being able to sell people a product that I have personally made, and it is much easier to talk to customers about exactly what goes into a loaf and what benefits they might expect.

Tell me about your customers at the market. I love the sense of community there and the dedication of people creating a ritual around coming to the market every Sunday and bringing their family with them. A lot of Grey Lynn customers already know about us and are grateful to find us at the market.

Have you had anything funny happen at the market? I’ve had couple of people ask me what kind of meat I’m selling! Our product is vegan! I think it is because our bread is so dark, and it has a different texture than the bread people are used to. It’s funny, but it does spark a conversation.

Where did you grow up? Apart from a few years in Dunedin, I spent most of life in rural West Auckland. I loved the strong music focus at Kaipara College.

So, music is important to you? Music has always been a strong part of my family and I studied music at school. I write my own music and I am currently putting together a solo EP, recording all the parts and compiling them together. I can play a lot of instruments so it comes quite naturally for me to shift from instrument to instrument. That works when I’m recording, but I have a backing band for live performances, with me singing and playing guitar.

In September, I’m really looking forward to performing as part of The Others Way Festival – it’s an exciting festival celebrating independent artists who will be performing at venues in the Karangahape Road district.  PN www.glfm.co.nz

Sunday mornings at the Grey Lynn Community Centre 510 Richmond Road

Over the wreck of the Titanic

Ross Thorby: Somewhere Mid-Atlantic mid Covid-19

“41.726931° N, 49.948253° W.”

On 21 March 2020 at 1.49 pm precisely, the master of the Cunard ship, the Queen Victoria, sounded her whistle.

We may be fleeing across these waters into an uncertain future, the fate of our home-away-from-home and her crew unknown, but in another time at this place, an earth-shattering event took place that also bode ill for another ship full of passengers; a life-changing event.

At this moment, we were passing over the wreck of the RMS Titanic.

As we crossed the corpse of what was left of this “Ship of Dreams”, we began to follow the five-mile-long debris field that is strewn below us. Boilers and hull plates, the contents of her interiors, saucepans, dishes, bottles of wine and oh so much luggage, shoes, children’s dolls - all the vestiges of people’s lives, that for some was all that they owned, as they navigated the Atlantic for a new life in the “New World”.

Hanging silent and invisible in the murky depths, are the remaining souls of those who lost their lives at this spot. Some still trapped inside the hull as she took her final plunge, others dying of hypothermia after being thrown into a bitterly cold Atlantic Ocean. It was at this point, the pride of the White Star Fleet had descended violently into the inky black depths, never again to feel the warm sunrise on her decks or to host gay, joyful events in her elegant public rooms.

It was in their memory, that 108 years later, a few of us hardy souls stood on the top-most point of our ship in silence and respect before turning to stare out over the aft as our wake marked our track and the field of her debris.

I have never been this close to her before , although I did manage to touch a piece of her hull once. On a travelling exhibition of recovered artefacts in Melbourne a few years ago, there was a salvaged section of the ship and the lone security guard was being distracted by a miscreant climbing into a lifeboat.

The low-slung guide rope was no match for me as I shimmied over it and towards the historic steel plating. Touching it was a highlight of my life at the time, but now at this time here we all are, and 12,600 feet below, under our most beautiful ship in the world and the turbulent waters of the Atlantic, sits the wreck of the world’s most beautiful ship of that time; an example of man’s hubris and his attempt to build the biggest, the most luxurious and the safest ship

Original life jacket from Titanic

afloat, but one that left lives ruined and families torn apart. Careers and reputations were lost and the birth of a legend was all that remained amongst so much death here.

It’s ironic that this crossing should be the journey that brings me here. Now sprinting towards the safety of our ship’s home port of Southampton, we have been unsettled by the news of a burgeoning Armageddon spreading around the world. As we flee, the vestiges of a pandemic was sweeping the very continent that we had just been visiting. South America’s borders are now closed, our flights home cancelled, destination hotels closed, and here, helpless in the midAtlantic, I learn worryingly that even New Zealand borders are now closed. Home, Ponsonby, and my parents never seemed so far away.

We have no control over our fates when the only option is to sit tight and wait until we reach land and then what? Gossip at the cocktail parties and balls centre around what life is like on land; talk of a changed world of face masks, hand sanitiser and public gathering restrictions, are incomprehensible here in our safe yet ignorant bubble. We circulate and drink champagne and eat caviar while Rome appears to be burning.

There are a number of passengers out on deck after being fore-warned earlier by the Captain of the occasion. Of course all the Titanic buffs (and there are many on board) were well aware of today’s significance. We look around and below us. Disappointingly, the water belies nothing of what languishes below. There are no markers, no gravestones, no icebergs and no indications that this area could be anything other than just a random spot somewhere Mid-Atlantic.

For those of us also “in peril on the sea”, we stand looking out over the dark grey water, the white-caps and white-horses whipped up by the bitter wind flying off the troughs and waves and remember and feel just that much... “nearer my God to thee.” (ROSS THORBY)  PN