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About us

The New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals Association (NZSWP)  is registered an incorporated society and is not for profit. 

Our organisation is a not for profit incorporated society and its primary goal is to create a community of people from around New Zealand working with wine, beverages, wine and beverage sales, marketing within the sectors of hospitality, wine, wine tourism, wine education, wine marketing and sales.

The New Zealand Sommelier and Wine Professionals Association is uniquely poised to help develop the knowledge and skills of people working with wine and other beverages. Our focus is on people who work in cafés and restaurants, hotels and lodges, cellar doors and in wine sales and marketing. These are primarily customer service roles across hospitality, tourism and wine businesses. 

Being curious to learn more about the products that you work with not only stimulates the employee and leads to greater job satisfaction but also helps enhance the visitor/customer experience and may result in higher sales and profitability for the business.

Summary of our goals

  • To create a community of people from around New Zealandworking with wine, beverages, wine and beverage sales, marketing within the sectors of hospitality, wine, wine tourism, wine education, wine marketing and sales.
  • To foster and encourage the role of sommeliers and wine professionals and raise service standards, ethics and professionalism.
  • To foster education of wine and other beverages.
  • To assist, and where possible offer guidance to, those wanting to develop career pathwaysas a sommelier and/or wine professional.
  • To raise funds for the purpose of assisting members to attend eventsthrough membership levies, donations, sponsorships and various fundraising activities for the purposedof assisting members and others.
  • To support international cooperation and build links to related international organisations, competitions and events.
  • To organise and conduct conferences, events and activitieswhich promote the objects and purposes of the Association.
  • The Association is not for profitand registered under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908.

Constitution

Read our constitution to discover why we were formed and how we operate.

Meet the Committee

Committee members of the New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals Association (NZSWP) - Celia Hay (chair), Susan Taylor (Secretary/Treasurer - Canterbury), Karen Fistonich, Jeremy Ellis, Nick Hewitt, Stefan Loetscher (Hawkes Bay), Maciej Zimny (Wellington), and Alexis Robin (Otago/Southland).

Cameron Douglas MS is the Founding Patron.

Celia Hay

Celia Hay

Celia is a qualified chef, chef-patron of Hay's Restaurant for 17 years and holds the WSET Diploma. She is author of the New Zealand Wine Guide (2014)  and How to Grow your hospitality business (3rd ed. 2017). Celia is founding director of the NZ School of Food & Wine. In 2018, Celia was appointed to the ASI Didactic Committee.

Susan Taylor

Susan Taylor

Susan is a leading Wine & Hospitality Educator at Ara Institute of Canterbury. She has extensive experience in training in wine, restaurant service, food and beverage management. Susan is a WSET certified educator and holds the WSET Diploma.

Karen Fistonich

Karen Fistonich

Karen is the chair of Villa Maria Wines and has served on the Board of Directors for nearly 20 years following a successful career in international banking with ANZ. Karen showed a keen interest in her family's business as a teenager and worked in the Villa Maria wine shop while studying towards her BA in Psychology at the University of Auckland.

Jeremy Ellis

Jeremy Ellis

Jeremy Ellis is certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers and obtained the top mark for New Zealand in 2009. He currently works as a business consultant with previous experience as Group Sommelier for Robertson Lodges (Farm at Kidnappers, Kauri Cliffs and Matakauri lodges) and Skycity, Venue Manager Botswana Butchery, owner at Browns Wines & Browns Deli, General Manager for Number 5, Wine Chambers and was part of the opening team at the Grill and for Baduzzi.   

Nick Hewitt

Nick Hewitt

Nick is an experienced sales professional with strong leadership, business development and relationship-building skills. He is currently area on-premise manager for Negociants New Zealand, based in Auckland. Nick is certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers and holds the WSET Level 2.

Stefan Loetscher

Stefan Loetscher

Stefan Loetscher trained as a chef in Switzerland. After moving to New Zealand, Stefan and his wife established Pure restaurant in Ponsonby. In 2017, he relocated with his family to Hawkes Bay to establish a boutique vineyard. Today Stefan is viticulturist and chef of Oak Estate. Stefan holds the WSET Level 3.

Maciej Zimny

Maciej Zimny

Maciej, originally from Poland, has vast experience in hospitality working in restaurants and hotels around the world. In 2015, he won the New Zealand Sommelier of the Year and represented NZ at the ASI Asia Oceania Competition in Hong Kong. In 2018, he represented NZ at the Ningxia Wine Challenge. Maciej holds the WSET Diploma and is co-founder of leading Wellington wine bar,  Noble Rot Wine Bar.

Alexis Robin

Alexis Robin

Alexis, originally from France, was the first winner of the New Zealand Young Wine Professional of the Year in 2014. He currently works as an account manager for Delegat based in Dunedin. Alexis holds a M.Com from Paris-Sorbonne and is the founder of a number of wine experience concepts including the Central Otago Wine Club and The Wine Host in Dunedin.

Cameron Douglas, MS

Cameron Douglas, MS

Cameron is our Founding Patron and NZ's first and only Master Sommelier. He is an experienced wine and beverage educator at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Cameron is a prolific wine writer and commentator, judge, presenter and consultant. He is regarded as the unofficial Ambassador for New Zealand wine and ensures he spends time in each New Zealand wine region every year.

 

NZSWP is an observer member of the Association of Sommeliers International (ASI)

 

Villa Maria Wines