Read More A reminder of how many years have gone past!

Posted on Sun, 12/11/2017

Every so often I get a wake up call as to how many years have gone by since those stress filled days when we first opened up at Somerset and dealt with all we had too over those first few years - young and green and naive...>>>

Read More Family is everything

Posted on Fri, 29/09/2017

Has been a mucky sort of day, where I don't feel like I've acomplished much. We have a catering job on tomorrow - not a large one, but a function where we are taking everything - plates, cutlery, glassware and etc,...>>>

Read More TWR Winemakers Dinner

Posted on Sat, 25/06/2016

On Thursday evening just gone, we did a winemakers dinner with Anna from TWR Wines. A lady we have had the pleasure of  meeting a few times over the years, and who has always left a special resonance in her wake. Genuine...>>>

Read More What makes a good sommelier

Posted on Thu, 03/04/2014

Liked this article very much. Expertise is acquired by doing the hard yards over time, not by getting a certificate. The classroom only gets you a small part of the way there, and there a whole host of other skills...>>>

Read More Egg in wine

Posted on Wed, 11/12/2013

There is always something to learn - a fact I happen to like, because it keeps me on my toes. Last night I learned that Te Whare Ra do not use any egg or other animal protein to fine their wines, and I learnt this because...>>>

Read More Bilancia

Posted on Sun, 01/12/2013

Been a busy sort of Sunday - and just sitting at the computor having a quick catch up on my inbox, before I shower and get ready for dinner. Think we're heading out to Macau for an early meal, before coming home and finishing...>>>

Read More Compost making at Rippon

Posted on Thu, 26/09/2013

A very cool video about making compost at Rippon Vineyard. Have a meeting with them next week, and got linked to this via the email. A subject close to my heart, and I love to hear the science chat in the background. Where...>>>

Read More Stonyridge Larose Vertical tasting

Posted on Sun, 28/07/2013

A glorious day, and has been made all the nicer because we've had Hannah and Andrew home for the weekend, and after a leisurely morning reading the Sunday papers, for those of us who didn't get up at the crack of dawn to...>>>

Read More How dependable are wine competitions?

Posted on Sat, 29/06/2013

Fascinating article in The Observer over the question of just how reliable wine judges are able to be, when they're tasting over 100 wines blind in a competition session. And if they are not reliable, what does that say...>>>

Read More Champagne

Posted on Thu, 04/04/2013

A link to a blog that David Lebovitz has just written regarding a sponsored trip to Reims and visit to the Veuve Cliquot cellars. We have 3 champagnes on our wine list, and sell alot of Veuve so I was interested to read...>>>

Read More European wine styles

Posted on Tue, 26/02/2013

A gross generalisation I know, but New Zealanders  tend not  to be interested in drinking wine styles that they are not familiar with. For that reason Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir are the biggest...>>>

Read More Sean's Cellar

Posted on Tue, 04/12/2012

Our wine list covers a wide range of options, both price wise and in styles,  and that is deliberate. We are still BYO, but it is a habit that is diminishing in volume I've noticed over the last couple of years. The...>>>

Read More It depends on the label

Posted on Sat, 16/06/2012

The answer returns us to the sensory limitations of the mind. If these blind testings teach us anything, it?s that for the vast majority of experts and amateurs fine-grained perceptual judgments are impossible. Instead,...>>>

Read More How to pour a glass of wine

Posted on Tue, 10/04/2012

This link was sent to me by Chris, with the tongue in cheek suggestion that we should have one at the bar at Somerset. A little too time consuming methinks to be practical, but quite gorgeous all the same. I am fascinated...>>>

Read More Richardson Winemaker Lunch - Sunday 18 March 2012

Posted on Tue, 20/03/2012

I've just come back over to the house after having a meeting with Sandy regarding the visit from Jane Skilton that we have coming up in early May. She is going to be leading a tasting of bubbly style wines and also pinot...>>>

Read More Movie on Sommeliers

Posted on Fri, 20/01/2012

This looks like a movie I gotta see, purely out of curiosity though, and not becos I want to in any way emulate the ambition of these guys to pass the Master Sommelier exam. I love wine, and I love the process of tasting...>>>

Read More Mid sized wineries struggling

Posted on Thu, 08/12/2011

I've just been on the website of a photographer who took photos at a civil union we did at Somerset back in late October. A very special afternoon event, for two ladies I'm enormously fond off, making formal their bond....>>>

Read More American perspective on NZ sauvignon blanc

Posted on Sat, 03/12/2011

An interesting perspective on the start of planting of grapes in Marlborough, and the surge to dominance of NZ sauvignon blanc. On our white wine list we have 8 rieslings,  5 gewurztraminers, 6 pinot gris, a chenin...>>>

Read More Martinborough Wine and Food Festival

Posted on Tue, 22/11/2011

 A sad commentary on the evolution of the Martinborough Wine and Food Festival, or rather, the people going to the festival.  For some years during the late nineties, we joined a number of other couples from Tauranga...>>>

Read More Mondovino - the series

Posted on Fri, 18/11/2011

I really don't know where to start about this series. It has been my idea of bliss, to watch the full 10 hours of viewing over the week, and revel in the depiction of the scope of the wine world that it covers. From the Mondavi's...>>>

Read More Preservative 220

Posted on Sun, 19/06/2011

I am a natural cynic. Not, I hope, one who is automatically bitter and twisted. I don't feel quite that far along the spectrum, but definitely I do have a tendency to greet a certain amount of stuff with an instinctively...>>>

Read More Passion and Patience

Posted on Sat, 18/06/2011

The DVD Passion and Patience arrived yesterday, and I've just watched it while on the spinner for an hour. Filmed at the Henderson winery Corazon, its a completely down to earth look at the wine making process, starting with...>>>

Read More Movie on making wine

Posted on Wed, 15/06/2011

I've just ordered a copy of this movie Passion and Patience,  becos figure it will make interesting viewing for all our front staff, especially since it appears to be made from a NZ centric perspective. I sometimes...>>>

Read More Lunch

Posted on Tue, 24/05/2011

I didn't get to go to my photography class today, becos Anna Flowerday from Te Whare Ra winery was flying in, and I'd suggested to Sandy from Lion the distributors, that we have lunch with her, as a catchup, seeing as how...>>>

Read More Sparkling Shiraz

Posted on Thu, 05/05/2011

I gave myself a start at a table last nite, when I poured the first glass of the bubbly that they had BYOed. We tend to open BYO wines behind the bar rather than at the table, and I'd done so without really paying too much...>>>

Read More Congratulations John

Posted on Mon, 18/04/2011

I know I splutter rude things about competitions in general, but I'm still pragmatic enough to know that winning an award like this is good for business, and when it happens to someone I like as much as John Hancock, then...>>>

Read More Wine Competitions

Posted on Tue, 25/01/2011

This link is to a blog written by a winemaker on Waiheke Island on the subject of the nefarious and ambiguous results that can come out of wine competitions. I suscribe to a couple of wine email services, and literally not...>>>

Read More Drink only Australian wine in January

Posted on Fri, 10/12/2010

All wine industries everywhere in the world have found the last couple of vintages extremely stressful. The market correction that has been taking place over the last 2 years, is claiming alot of financial victims along the...>>>

Read More Tips on ordering wine in a restaurant

Posted on Thu, 25/11/2010

This article is written by an American restaurant critic who was slated by Anthony Bourdain in his latest book, as being pretencious and seriously unpleasant, so I started reading his list, fully expecting to find him pretencious...>>>

Read More Trinity Hill Winemakers Dinner - November 2010

Posted on Wed, 24/11/2010

I am about to head into the kitchen to start browning of some mince, so that I can get a huge pot of bolognese sauce bubbling away, for while I'm over at the restaurant for lunch service. Courteney is doing the Elite Womens...>>>

Read More New Zealand wines trouncing Australian

Posted on Wed, 29/09/2010

 A gracious Australian commentary on why NZ wine styles are featuring so dominantly in competitions, comparing NZ wines to Australian and South African - a vinous Tri Nations......>>>

Read More Things are tough in the NZ wine world

Posted on Mon, 30/08/2010

A sobering article on the current status quo in the NZ wine industry.......>>>

Read More Mahi Winemakers Dinner - August10 2010

Posted on Thu, 12/08/2010

Mahi winery was established in Marlborough in 2001 by Brian and Nicola Bicknell, and they make a small range of wines from hand picked grapes, and using wild yeasts. On Tuesday nite, we hosted a dinner with Brian , and were...>>>

Read More Robert Parker

Posted on Tue, 10/08/2010

I am currently reading a totally fascinating book, 'Liquid Matters' by Jonathon Nossiter, which is taking awhile, partly becos I'm finding it thoroughly engrossing and am trying to spin it out so it doesn't end anytime soon,...>>>

Read More Two French Winemakers

Posted on Mon, 12/07/2010

We are heading up to Auckland for the day ( and evening - it would be a shame  not to fit a dinner in as well!) later this week, primarily ( apart from the lunch and dinner!) to meet up with Jean-Christophe at Maison...>>>

Read More Man O'War Dreadnought Syrah

Posted on Wed, 02/06/2010

Its nice when a wine we already have on the wine list gets this kind of accolades...  Once Rhonda gets back from America, and before the kitchen crew start taking their annual leave, Rick and I are hoping for a few days...>>>

Read More Te Whare Ra Toru

Posted on Tue, 18/05/2010

I have had my normal bookwork Tuesday, alleviated somewhat by a catchup lunch with some friends in town, that allowed a pleasant break in all that I needed to plow thru. Now nearly time to head over to the restaurant for...>>>

Read More Female Winemakers

Posted on Tue, 04/05/2010

This link to an article on the significance of female winemakers in the NZ wine industry comes as no surprise to me. Two of my favourite wineries that we list at the restaurant are the Richardson lineup and also Odyssey,...>>>

Read More Yalumba Winemakers Dinner, 24 March 2010

Posted on Thu, 25/03/2010

Learnt something tonite! The Flemish bissous on the cheek 3 times, whereas the French only do it twice. Didn't know that. We have some Flemish businessmen in for dinner, one of whom we have seen many times over the years,...>>>

Read More Pinot Noir Classification

Posted on Mon, 15/02/2010

I am not inherently a fan of the classification of wine or restaurants into lists of the best - becos I have problems with the variability of the criteria used, and the type of people who set themselves up to pass judgement. But...>>>

Read More Wine Critics

Posted on Wed, 10/02/2010

Two interesting articles in The Guardian on the vexed subject of wine criticism - both from a different perspective, but both written by men who have the very serious qualification of an MW. Tim Aitken argues that with the...>>>

Read More Wine trends for next decade

Posted on Mon, 11/01/2010

I get daily emails from, which is a roundup of news from anywhere in the world relating to the wine industry, and usually makes for interesting reading. This link is to a US based article, predicting the...>>>

Read More Jancis Robinsons wishlist for 2010

Posted on Wed, 06/01/2010

I've always admired Jancis Robinsons ability to call it the way she sees it - so many supposed critics are little more than PR mouthpieces, with no original grunt.  This lady has always struck me as been made of sterner...>>>

Read More Blind tasting

Posted on Thu, 01/10/2009

People need to realise just how seriously some of our reds are starting to be taken on the world stage. This isn't the first time that 'our' Gimblett Gravels bordeau style reds have come out very well in a blind tasting with...>>>

Read More Te Whare Ra Winemaker Dinner -29 September 2009

Posted on Wed, 30/09/2009

I was going to head over to the Mount this afternoon to clear my head after what has been a reasonably full on couple of days, but the weather is squally and unpredictable, so I've opted for a mooch down below with the dogs,...>>>

Read More Comparative Champagne Tasting, 1 September 2009

Posted on Thu, 03/09/2009

Have just had a meeting with Andrea from Moca, our website designers, and Rachel from Digital Dove, who is currently working with us on our logo and branding - and have realised that theres a whole language out there that...>>>

Read More Coleraine Auction

Posted on Fri, 28/08/2009

 Many years ago, a customer sold us 2 bottles from about 9 consequetive vintages of Stony Ridge Larosse, and we did a evening in the restaurant, tasting the wines. Steve Bird led the discussions as I recall. For me...>>>

Read More Corked

Posted on Wed, 22/07/2009

 A new mockumentary that looks promising, becos it pokes the borax at the pretensions that build up in the wine industry - something that I trip over occasionally. Most of the wine makers that I know personally, are...>>>

Read More Dog Point Winemakers Dinner, 9 July 2009

Posted on Fri, 10/07/2009

A gloriously sunny still day. Have just got back from the Mount, where I went alone cos Rick headed out on his bike. The Mount is full of families, with the school holidays currently on - and it's always fascinating to note...>>>

Read More Criticism of Robert Parkers independance

Posted on Fri, 29/05/2009

About to head over to the restaurant for a cookschool, but one of the advantages of my day starting at 6.30am these mornings to feed the puppies, is that I get an extra hour at my computor to read incoming stuff,  which...>>>

Read More State of the Australian wine market

Posted on Tue, 07/04/2009

A somewhat sobering appraisal from Jancis Robinson on the state of the Australian wine market -...>>>

Read More Bird Wines, winemaker dinner 17 February 2009

Posted on Wed, 18/02/2009

We had a winemakers dinner with Steve and Caroline Bird, from Bird Wines last nite. Steve had a number of wine styles that he wanted to showcase, so we delved into 'The French Laundry ' cookbook for inspiration for a series...>>>

Read More Jancis Robinson

Posted on Wed, 04/02/2009

Jancis Robinson is an English wine critic who I've long admired. I remember watching a BBC production years ago, that she did about apreciating wine, and decided back then that I liked her direct and honest approach. There...>>>

Read More Trinity Hill winemakers dinner - 25 November 2008

Posted on Thu, 27/11/2008

I have one daughter out on the river training, the other is racing in Te Puke, and Ricks just headed out for a quiet hour on the bike to clear his head. As you do. I've been bottling red wine vinegar, and am now sitting at...>>>

Read More Michelle Richardson Winemakers Dinner - 7 October 2008

Posted on Wed, 08/10/2008

I'm exhausted! First cookschool in the Christmas series today, and the first one in any series is always cause for some preliminary anxiety as we sort the timing of everything ( ran over time today, but knowing my husband...>>>

Read More Why I keep my wine list predominantly from small producers

Posted on Tue, 16/09/2008

An article in the regular TizWine email caught my eye today. Theres a documentary being screened on one of the Australian TV channels that we may get to see in NZ at some time, which describes in detail some of the scams...>>>

Read More Brunello

Posted on Thu, 21/08/2008

Back in 2004 we did two weeks of cookschools in an idyllic farmhouse in rural Tuscany, Italy - Podere Fineri. It was our first trip to Europe ( if you over look the fact that I was born in England, but came out to NZ when...>>>

Read More Is a bottle of wine ever worth that much?!

Posted on Sat, 09/02/2008

Read this... its an article on a bottle of wine that gets returned in a restaurant in London, by a diner who doubts its authenticity....>>>

Read More New Movie on Wine

Posted on Tue, 22/01/2008


Read More Interesting Article

Posted on Mon, 21/01/2008

One of the electronic wine emails I suscribe too, sends me interesting titbits from all around the world, and I thought this was an article worth passing on :>>>

Read More Italian Wine Newsletter

Posted on Thu, 10/01/2008

One of my New Years resolutions is to treat this blog as an opportunity to just flick quick ideas out there. Links that I enjoy, that I think other people might and should therefore pass along. I've tended over the past...>>>

Read More Off License

Posted on Wed, 14/11/2007

After we have done a cookschool at Somerset, we sit down in the restaurant with the attendees and eat for lunch what it is that Rick has prepared, together with a wine  that I've chosen . I usually make an effort in...>>>

Read More Kina Beach Winery Dinner - Tuesday 21 August 2007

Posted on Thu, 23/08/2007

  David and Pam, owners of Kina Beach winery in Nelson, approached us a couple of months ago to see if we'd like to do a winery dinner with them. David had come to see me before last Christmas to do a tasting with his...>>>

Read More Oz and James Big Adventure

Posted on Mon, 13/08/2007

We are in the process of getting an offlicense, purely so we can sell via mail order, some of the wines that we get for the restaurant that aren't readily available to purchase from other retail outlets. The process to acquire...>>>

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