Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Putting your palate to the ultimate test...

Can you tell Chardonnay from Pinot Gris or Cabernet Franc from Cabernet Sauvignon? Or Gamay from Pinot Noir?
It's not always as easy as it seems and to prove the point, Celia Hay has revived the national wine options competition under the guise of the National Wine Competition. 

This is the third year of the revamped competition and it kicks off in Martinborough on Tuesday 13 June with the Wairarapa Competition and dinner at the Martinborough Town Hall from 6pm. The host this year is Nick Hewitt, who will also host the Wellington regional heat on Wednesday 21 June from 4pm to 5.30pm at Cinderella Wine Bar in Willis Street. 

The other regional heats this year are in Central Otago, which will take place at SkyCity Queenstown on Monday 19 June from 5pm to 7pm, hosted by Tori Haysom and Marek Przyborek. And the Auckland heat will take place at the NZ School of Food and Wine on Sunday 23 July from 3pm to 5pm, hosted by Andrea Martinisi and Celia Hay.

Two regions that do not have their own regional heats this year are Hawke's Bay and Christchurch, in which venues have proven too difficult. 

The New Zealand Junior and Sommelier of the Year competitions will be hosted at the New Zealand School of Food & Wine in Auckland on Sunday 30 July.