April Newsletter

  • Olivia Waikari

Autumn Greetings,

As we settle into the cooler months, NZ Sommeliers have a series of distinctive events coming up from our Travel by Glass Series and also the New Zealand Sommelier and Junior Sommelier Competition on Sunday 28 July at the New Zealand School of Food and Wine.

We really want to encourage YOU or people that YOU KNOW to signup for the competition. There will be a travel grant of $250 for people travelling to Auckland and we also hope to welcome a number of international sommeliers, although they are not eligible to win. Last year we hosted two sommeliers from Japan and Australia. This year we hope to extend our list to include more sommeliers from Asia. This annual event provides such a great opportunity to participate and network. Please join us, even as a volunteer.

Blind Wine Tasting Competitions 2024

We have now planned two events in Auckland, hoping to confirm events in Wellington and Wairarapa very soon. The Auckland Regional Competition will be on Monday 1st July from 4 - 6pm at NZSFW. You need to get a team of 3 or 4 pax together to taste the 8 wines. We can also help link people up into teams. The Final Blind Tasting Competition will be held as part of NZ Sommelier Competitions on Sunday 28 July at 3pm.

ASI General Assembly Monaco

From the photo above, you can see that I have recently returned from the ASI General Assembly in Monaco. It is a privilege to be able to participate in such events. I sit on the Audit Committee. Running a non-profit organisation with volunteers, across multiple countries, languages and time zones is not easy. Especially as ASI grows, there are many challenges which include managing the finances. 

We attended three full days of conference, debates and strategy, balanced by socialising with the 60+ member countries of ASI. 

There was a significant vote on allowing competitors to use their mother-tongue (French, English, Spanish) in the competitions from 2027, however they will have marks deducted as a penalty for not doing the competition in a second language. NZ Sommeliers have always been constrained by the language requirement.  The ASI Code of Ethics was also ratified. Read more here. 

We are however, united in our shared sense of hospitality and conviviality. Once the conference doors are closed, warmth and generosity, underpinned by a shared inclination to taste fine wines and eat fabulous food triumphs!

Click here to see my blog on ASI General Assembly 2024 and for the Gala Dinner, held in the Empire Room of the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo. 

Click here for New Zealand Sommelier and Junior (under 25) of Year

With best wishes

Celia Hay


Upcoming Events
Villa Maria Vertical Tasting 1996-2010

Villa Maria cordially invite you to a vertical tasting of their Reserve Bordeaux Blends from Hawke's Bay.
This represents really the start of our top end Gimblett Gravels journey, from discovering the potential of the sites through to full confidence in the quality they can deliver.

These wines also offer an interesting commentary regarding the move from cork to screwcap. Find out more here

University library

University library
Villa Maria Reserve Merlot, 1996 
Villa Maria Reserve Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Villa Maria Reserve Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot,  2002
Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot,  2004
Villa Maria Gimblett Gravels Reserve  Merlot,  2008
Villa Maria Gimblett Gravels Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot,  2010

Winemaker Gianni Flego will lead the tasting and canapes will be prepared by Cookery students of the New Zealand School of Food and Wine.

Monday Please register here

Tasting: Free for Members | Non-members $28


Travel by Glass: Wines of Galicia

Join Angela Allan on a journey to taste the vibrant wines of Northwest Spain. Book here 

Tasting: Free for Members | Non-members $28

Travel by Glass: Monday 29 April 5-6.30pm

 University library

Travel by Glass: Switzerland
From the sun-drenched vineyards of the Valais to the terraced slopes of Lavaux Lake Geneva and the cool alpine valleys of Graubünden, each wine growing region in Switzerland offers its own distinctive character and charm.

Join Franck Laruelle to discover the distinctive wines of Switzerland.

Monday 10 June 4 -5.30pm

Register here

Tasting: $25

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