Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Wine of a horrendous week in Hawke's Bay

Reports from friends and winemakers in Hawke's Bay say the devastation is worse than it looks online and on television news. Silt and sludge have washed away lives and livelihoods in New Zealand's second largest wine region, an area known as one of the fruit bowls of the country. Winemaker Jenny Dobson reports that she and her partner, Charles, are lucky because their house and property have survived while many are completely submerged.

"It's a real reset of life," says Dobson, who released her latest wines this month and was struggling to reach home after an intrepid vineyard inspection last week.

In such circumstances, it may seem trivial to suggest raising a glass or even reaching for one, but wine is of enormous importance to both Hawke's Bay and to New Zealand's economy as it is this country's fifth biggest export earner. The devastation of the cyclone on the country's second largest wine region is tragic and while more in-depth reports have yet to emerge about what we can hope to see from the Bay this vintage, here is one of the region's most successful and newest wines. A wine to give hope, even during one of the darkest times in Hawke's Bay. 

Wine of the week

2022 Jenny Dobson Florence Fiano Hawke’s Bay RRP $38.99
Fiano is an old southern Italian grape that has found its feet in the Bush Hawk Vineyard on Ngatarawa Road, Hawke's Bay, and tastes lemony crisp with a bone dry finish, a medium body and great depth of flavour. The Bush Hawk vineyard had doubled its 0.2 of a hectare of Fiano over the past year and all grapes in this wine were hand picked with 20% macerated with skins overnight to add richness to the wine, which was made at William Murdoch on Gimblett Road. 

Jenny Dobson's Florence Fiano is on allocation in specialist wine stores and restaurants.