Tasting Room Radio Post Banner BThe first of several One Hour Specials during a two week wine blitz through New Zealand’s wine regions,  with special interest in their amazing sustainability programs. In this special we start in Auckland and conclude in Hawkes Bay.   

Hawkes Bay 2

Hawkes Bay



 The opportunity was just too good to pass up. For a number of years I’ve been interviewing NZ winemakers as they passed through Canada. The meetings were great but I had no sense of the land. Where these wines were grown and under what conditions. Kiwi’s kept referring to Gimblett Gravels, a place called Nelson, Central Otago and Waiheke Island. I very much wanted to “get it”. To complete my understanding of what went into the astounding success of New Zealand wines – in Canada and around the World.

Map of NZ

Map of NZ

The invite from Wines of New Zealand  to tour the country was Waaaay to good to pass up. 94% of all NZ wines are farmed under sustainable practices. It’s not so much a program as a way of life. New Zealanders are all about being green. Just a note:  I seem to have done enough interviews for at least 2 other specials. They’ll be coming over the next month and a half.

NZ Vineyard

NZ Vineyard

Our guests include: Sarah Szegota   New Zealand Winegrowers   www.nzwine.com  Rob Meredith/Connie Festa  Co-Owners of Peacock Sky Vineyard (Waiheke Island)  www.peacocksky.co.nz

Peacock Sky

Peacock Sky

Beautiful hilltop vineyard, wonderful Bistro. Rob’s retired and works 7 days a week. Connie’s from Montreal. Cooks like her Mom. Staying on Waiheke Island..just off the coast from Auckland..we visit Mike Spratt at Destiny Bay, maker of only three wines.  three Bordeaux influenced red blends..one of which,  Magna Praemia,  is the most expensive wine in NZ.  Mike, his scientist wife Ann and winemaking son Sean lead a stellar team.  http://www.destinybaywine.com/ In between both those Waiheke island wineries we talk to our “host” Phillip Manson, the man in charge of New Zealand’s Sustainability efforts.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island







He’s proud of New Zealand’s reputation. So he should be. www.nzwine.com Before we leave the dormant volcanoes of beautiful Auckland we visit just one more winery. The most awarded winery in all NZ – Villa Maria!!  www.villamaria.co.nz Sir George Fistonich has spent five decades at the forefront of New Zealand’s wine industry that he helped develop. As an icon of the New Zealand wine industry, Villa Maria is known for bold and industry-changing moves such as moving to 100% screw cap through to the emphasis on sustainable practices in every area of the family owned company. Villa Maria Estate was named the supreme winner at the New Zealand Sustainable Business Network awards in November 2012


Sir george Fistonich Villa Maria

Sir George Fistonich Villa Maria

We start with David Roper/Winemaker. Then Fabian Yukich, in charge of wineries and vineyards and finally, the man himself, Sir George Fistonich.      [divider] Hawkes Bay is a short flight from Auckland. http://www.hawkesbaynz.com/ Hawke’s Bay’s long, hot summers and cool winters offer the best weather for growing grapes. The climate is dry and temperate. Hawke’s Bay is renowned for its horticulture with large orchards and vineyards on the plains.   Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest regions and this has made it one of the country’s leading producers of wine; notably red wines – cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah – but also with some quite stunning whites.   They are working on being the Syrah Capitol of NZ.  www.winehawkesbay.co.nz/ [divider] Pask Winemaker and Managing Director Kate Radburnd is one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed winemakers. She commands an international reputation for her extensive record of award winning wines and her vision and contribution to the industry. Kate holds the role of Deputy Chair of the Wine Institute of New Zealand, has been a Director of the Wine Institute of New Zealand and New Zealand Winegrowers since 1999, and is Chair of Judges at New Zealand’s oldest wine competition, the New Zealand Royal Easter Show Wine Awards. Kate has also been instrumental in the development of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand program and led Pask to be among the first group of wineries in the country to secure ISO environmental accreditation.

Kate Radburnd


Kate  spent five years as Chair of the SWNZ advisory/working group, which at that time saw the introduction of the winery programme under the scheme. Four of her  labels command the wine world’s attention Declaration Gimblett Road Roy’s Hill Kate Radburnd  Loved this interview..Enjoy!!  http://www.pask.co.nz/ [divider]   

In Our second New Zealand Special we will attempt to  include Elephant Hill Trinity Hill Selini Estates Mission Estates Winery (all in Hawkes Bay) TeMania Kono (in Nelson) Spy Valley Yealands Stoneleigh Brancott  ( all in Marlborough)  



Lucas Pavan – Producer of Dine Out Vancouver

Ann Sperling – On Organics and the Okanagan

NZ  Part Two- Marlborough