Tales of wine, people and travel

Author: Joelle Thomson (page 1 of 90)

Craggy Range pops up (down) to Wellington

Craggy Range chef Casey McDonald pops down to cook for three nights next week at Egmont Street Eatery as part of Wellington on a Plate…

Craggy Range has news and it’s all good for Wellington fans of the Hawke’s Bay winery, which will pop up in the capital next week for three nights  from Saturday 18 August to Monday 20 August.

The reason for the pop up restaurant is two fold.

Terroir Restaurant at the winery is currently closed for renovations, so the restaurant is coming our way instead. And the Craggy Range pop up is part of this year’s Wellington on a Plate.

Local Hawke’s Bay flavour is the order of the day at the pop up eatery. Food will be prepared by Terroir restaurant’s chef Casey McDonald, who plans to bring produce from the Bay.

The Craggy Range pop up restaurant operates on Saturday 18 August and Sunday 19 August at Egmont Street Eatery. There is a special VIP night on Monday 20 August for a vintage release of the 2016 Prestige Collection wines.

The tasting will be followed by a four course dinner prepared by Terroir restaurant chef Casey McDonald.

Find out more here: or here:

  • Read more about the Craggy Range Prestige Collection wines from 2016 on this blog. Watch this space.

New head of Marlborough Wine Show

New Zealand’s largest wine region has a new chief judge at its annual wine show with the appointment of Jack Glover, who was announced this month.

The show is now in its eighth year and will take place on 15 to 17 October in the country’s biggest wine region. This year’s judging will take place over three days and will include wine writers Dr Jamie Goode from the United Kingdom, whose wine blog, The Wine Anorak, is one of the most widely read in the world today at

Local wine writer John Saker will also judge this year.

The Marlborough Wine Show was founded by Belinda Jackson and Margaret Creswell in 2011. Wine Marlborough, the regional winegrower representative body, purchased the show in 2017.

It is a key tool to protect the reputation of the Marlborough wine industry, as well as being a strong event to celebrate the winemaking and viticultural talent of the region; the world’s most Sauvignon Blanc focussed region.

Entries for the Marlborough Wine Show open on 27 August and the awards celebration is on 26 October 2018.

How to forage in cities… start with lunch at Auckland event

Food & Wine Event 

Celia Hay, founder of the Food & Wine Event and the New Zealand School of Food & Wine in Auckland

Food foraging is hot right now but how do you live the forage dream in an urban environment?

A day long event in Auckland this year has the answer to that question and a whole lot more, says Food & Wine Event director Celia Hay, when talking about the  Urban Forage Lunch she has planned for Saturday 18 August at the New Zealand School of Food & Wine.

The lunch will focus on fresh foraged ingredients,, how to identify, find and prepare them And the forage lunch is just one of the sessions at the W&F Celebration, now in its fifth year.

It’s the brainchild of Celia Hay, founder and director of the New Zealand School of Food & Wine.

She’s on a mission to empower people through learning and to champion the finer points of an industry she is passionate about – food, wine and hospitality.

This year’s Food & Wine Event also includes cooking classes, wine tastings by industry professionals and a new Auckland wine competition, which will award three top wines made exclusively from grapes grown in the region.

Lynnette Hudson, winemaker for Tongue in Groove Wines and wine tutor

This year’s wine tastings include a natural tasting, talk and discussion by winemaker Lynnette Hudson of Tongue in Groove Wines, who is also the consultant winemaker for Pyramid Valley and a tutor at the school.

And I will present an hour long tasting on one of this country’s most underrated grapes, Chenin Blanc, which has a small but strong fan club. Chenin Blanc was once one of New Zealand’s leading grape varieties but today there are just 22 hectares of Chenin remaining in the ground in this country. It is big in South Africa, however, where it is the most planted grape variety and it is also the great white of the Loire Valley in France. This tasting will compare and contrast wines from all three countries, looking at the vast range of styles possible with this versatile white grape.

NZ Sommelier of the Year and Junior Sommelier of the Year

This year’s day-long food and wine event also includes a significant hospitality  industry competition that Celia Hay has been instrumental in reviving – the New Zealand Sommelier and Junior Sommelier of the Year Competition.

Both aspects of the competition are open to those working with wine in the hospitality trade. Those who compete in the New Zealand Sommelier and Junior Sommelier of the Year Competition have the chance to learn the tricks of the New York hospitality trade from Master Sommelier Jonathan Ross, who will take a masterclass for New Zealand sommeliers.

Ross will share secrets from his time at Eleven Madison Park restaurant in New York, which was placed first in the World’s 50 best restaurants in 2017. He will talk about his time there, the value of being a member of the New York Sommelier community and why he pursued a career in hospitality.

Auckland Wine of Origin Trophy

Master of Wine Bob Campbell will lead a session on wine judging, wine competitions and the process of how to become a wine judge.

“Together, we will then taste a selection of Auckland wines made from grapes grown exclusively in this area. The top wines (a white, a red and a sparkling) will be awarded the inaugural New Zealand School of Food and Wine Auckland Wine of Origin Trophy,” says Hay.

Wineries attending

Wineries, importers and distributors attending this year include Loveblock, Pegasus Bay, MacVine, Mt Michael, Greystone, Clos Marguerite, Giesen, Vidal, Peter Maude Fine Wines and Yealands.

Where, when and how to book

  • The Food & Wine Event is at the New Zealand School of Food & Wine on Saturday 18 August and Sunday 19 August from 12 noon to 6pm.
  • General admission tickets cost $60 per person and include entry to call events on the Sunday, including cooking demonstrations, gourmet nibbles and snacks served throughout the day and wine tastings with industry experts.

Event timetable 

Saturday 18 August

9am to 2pm Urban Forage

5pm to 9pm Foodography Dinner


Sunday 19 August

11am to 12pm – New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals

Presenter: Jonathan Ross MS

12 noon – One Dish Dinners with Celia Hay

Learn how to prepare a meal in one pan on your stove top or barbecue

1pm – Salmon Three ways with David Schofield

2pm – Discover the Great White – Chenin Blanc with Joelle Thomson

Taste deliciously diverse and ridiculously affordable Chenin Blanc

4pm – Natural wines with Lynnette Hudson

Taste wines produced with as much left to nature as possible

Monday 20 August 10am to 2.30pm –  Auckland Wine of Origin Trophy

Free of charge to members of the New Zealand Sommeliers and wine professionals, presented by Master of Wine Bob Campbell.

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