New Zealand

Before I got into wine, I was a reluctant traveller.  I had spent a childhood travelling with my parents but for most of my adult life, I rarely left England and then only for France, Germany and, more recently, Italy.  The idea of going to what for me is the far end of the earth, New Zealand, never even occurred to me.  And it was not that I did not like New Zealand wine, far from it. I love the bright, fresh fruit flavours combined with high acidity and what I now understand is a remarkably consistent high standard of winemaking.  

All that changed when I engaged with wine seriously. I found myself very happily going to Italy and other parts of Europe perhaps five times a year.  As a Master of Wine student, I had the chance to enter quite a few essay competitions, sponsored by wine regions and companies.  Here is the tale: 

Family of 12 New Zealand prize. I told my wife Janet that there was yet another competition to enter and, yes, the prize was a fortnight’s visit to New Zealand including all the transport and accommodation. As a very reluctant flyer her spirits sank but I assured her that there was no way I was going to win this amazing prize.  I spent a month researching and writing my essay and then months later that innocuous email arrived to say that I had indeed won the prize … I was amazed, flabbergasted and delighted! We eventually travelled in January 2016 for an unforgettable series of visits to the twelve wineries of the ‘Family’ in eight regions and to the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc conference in that month.

It is difficult to convey how great an experience this was – the places, the people, the hospitality and the depth of learning –  were truly remarkable.  Here is my prize-winning essay and here is my final, reflective piece

And here are the individual posts:  

And: 

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