Joelle Thomson

Author, journalist, writer

Month: February 2017 (page 2 of 7)

Wine 101, the next level…

If you love wine and want to know a little more, here’s your chance in April this year – bookings have just opened now online, the details of which are below.

Here’s the skinny on the course – I began Wine 101 at Regional Wines & Spirits in Wellington last year and now we’re taking it to the next level this year – 2017.

The course is run over three nights – a night of white wine, a night of red wines and the final devoted to sparkling and fortified wines of the world. All wines come from all over the world.

We will share the good, the great and the unusual wines of the world – from Champagne, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc to Merlot, Nero d’Avola and Verdicchio, explaining a little wine history, clearing up lots of wine mystery and teaching you to train your mind and mouth to identify flavours – the way that exercise trains the body.

Bookings are essential for 3 evenings of fun, facts and delicious flavours at Regional Wines & Spirits tasting calendar 2017…

Wine 101 – the next level 

Thursday 13, 21 & 28 April, 2017

Last year I launched Wine 101 at Regional Wines to two packed out courses; this year we are upping the ante and taking these tastings to the next level. If you enjoyed learning about Syrah and Saint-Joseph AC in France, about Malbec from $12 to $40 and about the best Sauvignon Blancs in the Southern Hemisphere, come and check out the new range of wines we will highlight in this three night course.

Three nights at $40 a pop is outstanding value for money to taste over $1000 of wine all up, to learn how to pick up the clues that red wine colour offers in terms of its most likely origin and to understand how to  choose between the good, the great and the wines that wow you the most.

Bookings essential @

More tastings will be scheduled as the year rolls on. We look forward to seeing you at these starters.

Or email me to find out more:

Tune in to RNZ today for North Canterbury wine talk…

It seems timely right now to celebrate the good things about Canterbury after so many of the bad, which have plagued this region with fires last week and the sixth anniversary this month of its devastating earthquakes of 2011.

So, if you’re free at 3.15pm today, tune in to  Jesse Mulligan’s show on RNZ National where he will chat with me about a food event run by winemakers – it’s called Forage North Canterbury and is all about looking at the world around us in a different way – we are surrounded by food and this great event (now in its third year) is all about finding that food, preparing it… and enjoying it with the great wines of the North Canterbury region.

Forage North Canterbury is a non profit making event which was held at the end of January and is organised by winemakers and hosted at Pegasus Bay Winery – here is my story:

The power of kindness

Generosity. Sometimes it comes from the most surprising places, including a man I once met in a local cafe and then wrote a column about.

The column was about the Italian wines that his company makes and sells. It’s a big company and he was with a group of Italians who once visited New Zealand often to promote and sell their wines, which are made all over Italy and which sell all over the world. It’s a big brand with small price tags, so it’s affordable and well known. It’s called Farnese.

Did the column help to sell them some wine? Did it make them feel their trip to New Zealand (all the way from Italy) was worthwhile? Or did it tickle their fancy that their philosophy – to make affordable wines that express something of the Italian flavour – was understood by a stranger from a relatively small wine market?

Fast forward eight years and every year they still send me a beautiful present. Amazing. I haven’t written a word about them for at least the past four years but their generosity continues every year. It’s powerful. The product they send me each year now has organic certification, is packaged in a lighter bottle and sealed with a screw cap rather than with a cork. It’s not wine. It’s olive oil from one of their wine estates.

The power of their kindness is more impactful than any press release, follow up phone call or hard sell could ever be.

I am always taken aback and never expect to receive another bottle. This year it took a while to find me since I have relocated cities but the impact was – yet again –  a reminder of the power of generosity.

I have another Italian blog on its way soon too… and that’s another story – one of a big, bold, ground breakingly maverick Italian wine. Watch this space.

Thank you to the Farnese Vini and to Valentino Sciotti, who is an owner, director and a generous man.


PS: This is not a column about how nice it is to receive things nor is it about my surprise at remaining on somebody’s PR list of journalists to send things to. It is about the power of kindness. Something we all underestimate and that I wanted to comment on.

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