Accidental wine cellar

Annemarie Begg’s story: “It’s by accident that I have a wine cellar – I piled things on top of wine boxes and forgot about them but the Penfolds reds I found years later are delicious…”

If you want something done, apparently you should give it to a busy person, so the cliché goes, and Annemarie Begg is just the type – a businesswoman with a company to run, a family to care for and a new wine cellar business.

That’s why her story is on this website. The cellar business is the newest part of her fast growing refrigeration company, so we asked her to share a couple of her favourite bottles with us. Not literally – just to tell us their identities and how long she’d kept the wines for.

Turns out, she only ever cellared wine by accident.

This is her story.

When did you first store wine for longer than the trip home from the supermarket?

“I’ve got a few bottles of 2006 and 2007 reds and at first they were in the cupboard under the stairs and then I put something on top of the boxes and completely forgot about them.”

How did you unearth them?

“We found them when moving house, so drank a few bottles with friends and, they were so yummy, I hoped they weren’t too expensive. I’ve got some Penfolds from 2006 – it’s not Grange but it was delicious, so it’s great to have another couple of bottles there.”

Where did you buy them?

“I used to get deliveries from the Fine Wine Delivery Company, Caro’s in Parnell and from Glengarry’s, so over the years I’ve had lots of different wines to try and it’s always interesting not having to choose them but getting to enjoy them.”

Where are you hiding your wine these days?

“In plain view. I’ve got a small wine fridge, which keeps between 12 and 20 bottles; some bottle sizes take up more room; Riesling or Pinot Gris bottles take less, wheras Champagne bottles take up more space. The fridge is for everyday. It’s not a cellar.”

What led to wine cellars as a business?

“A few years ago we were asked to build a wine storage area in a client’s house. It’s built since then.”

What types of wine cellars do you build?

“Some are big modern spaces with heated glass doors and mirrors while others are really small because their owners don’t have big budgets, but the dollar value of their wine is important, so they want to protect it.”

What are you drinking each day?”

“I love Champagne but not daily. I’m enjoying Otago Pinot Noirs; I know they can be little more expensive but they have a bit more body, I think and I like that. Sauvignon Blanc is my favourite white and I love rose in summer.”

Where do you buy wine now days?

“Farro is over the road from work (in Grey Lynn, Auckland) and it sometimes has wines you can’t get anywhere else. I also found it interesting being at Soul Bar (at Auckland’s Viaduct) on Sunday for Mother’s Day lunch and knowing that nobody else in the country could get the particular wine we were drinking. That was a good experience for me.”

If budget wasn’t an option, what would you fill your daily wine fridge with?

“Champagne – Veuve Clicquot is my favourite.”


Annemarie Begg is the managing director of White Refrigeration in Auckland, New Zealand. 

Med’ Reds… best wines under $15 and $20… a tasting

Great value takes on a whole new meaning when tasting Mediterranean reds, which offer everything in spades… The best of these wines (which are the only ones we’ll be tasting) are smooth, soft and full bodied with their fruit flavours dialled up to high volume and they cruise in with budget prices that make us all do a double take.

This tasting is part of Regional Wines & Spirits new series of instore tastings (free) which I am hosting for this iconic wine store (it’s where wine began to make sense for me, over 20 years ago now – ouch).

So come along and discover the best under $15 and the best under $20 Med’ Reds at Regional on Saturday 4 June at 12 noon. You’ll be able to enjoy the wines, and learn more about how to find the best of the bunch yourself by learning what to look for on the labels.

I’ll be hosting this casual instore tasting and if our last few instore sessions have been anything to go by, it’s sure to prove popular, not least because we will open a wide range of wines from southern France to Spain and across to Italia… I’m looking forward to it.

Where else can you taste $1000 for $120?

What is value for money when it comes to wine?
A bargain buy for $9.99 might fit the bill, but so could spending $120 to taste over $1000 worth of wines from all over the world.

This Thursday from 6pm to 8pm is the time and Regional Wines & Spirits in Elice Street, Wellington (on the Basin Reserve roundabout) is the place – we’ll kick off with a trio of tasty whites from here to France and back, with many stop off destinations in between.

There are 4 spaces left in this outstanding value course and you can sign up by contacting Regional Wines & Spirits here via email:

And we are planning to run it again this year… Catch Wine 101 this week for a look (with our taste buds) at Chablis, Chenin and Verdicchio… and more.