Joelle Thomson

Wine writer and award winning wine author

What I am drinking, reading and savouring each week


Friday drinks with Tim Severne of Rockburn Wines

Tim Severne is the general manager of Rockburn Wines in Central Otago and also the father of two young children. He's a marketing graduate who was bitten by the wine bug when studying and has since fallen for the charms of everything from sharing a glass or a bottle to learning more about where wines come from. He was born and bred in Ponsonby, Auckland, and raised by social parents who worked in fashion and advertising. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are never far from his table but his biggest indulgence is the coffee machine...

This interview is based on Proust questionnaire which originated in 1886 - read more here

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My Family... and balancing work with family life. Life is pretty full on with a two year old son and a five year old daughter. I  travel a bit for work and I praise my wonderful wife, Hali, for keeping things moving at home.

What is your favourite thing about wine?

Drinking it is right up there but also sharing with friends the stories of where wines come from and the people behind them. These make each wine more intriguing.

Do you have a most treasured wine?

I tend to drink them too quickly to treasure them. If they make it to the cellar they’re too soon given away as an underprepared gift. In my cellar right now, I’ve probably got 200 bottles and my pick would be the 2002 Rockburn Pinot Noir, the pioneering vintage. I recently had a bottle and it’s in top form for 20+ years. Goes to show that Central Otago may be a youthful winegrowing region, but it is showing amazing aging potential.

When and where are you at your happiest?

Family holidays, which are very rare . My special place is Opito Bay in the Coromandel.  Walking, talking with family and friends along the very lone white sandy beach is bliss, rain or shine.  All while kids are distracted and hunting for shells and treasures.

What do you most dislike in wine?

Broken bottles.

What is your greatest fear?

Not achieving what I set out to do… And letting people down.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My coffee machine.

What is your greatest regret?

Not doing an OE when I left school.  At 18, I launched straight into my marketing and business studies. On a positive note, I was working in wine retail while studying, which paved the way into the wine industry.

What talent would you most like to have?

Better jokes. I’ve worked alongside many talented extroverts and they really are brilliant at delivering the punch lines.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

There’s so much to unravel here. Poverty, famine, disease, homelessness, loneliness and poor mental health. They are all the big issues… Then there’s not having milk in the fridge.

What do you most value in your friends?

Trust and honesty.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Perfect, amazing, thanks, no problem and no no...

What is your favourite meal?

One I didn’t cook.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing what would it be?

Definitely a wine glass. You’re right in the heart of the conversation, ideally holding something delicious. Plus a kiss and a rinse at the end of the night always helps.