I was lucky enough to take a trip to the land of the long white cloud and while in Napier, Hawke’s Bay, I saw an advert for the New Zealand Wine Centre. On arrival I was delighted to find a sensory room and tasting experience (6 wines) for the price of $29 and a very helpful and amiable host. The $29 gave you entry to the sensory room for as long as you wanted – to read about and smell the aromas associated with wine varietals, characteristics and faults. As a wine enthusiast for many years there was more information than I could take in – no one would be bored.
Then for the tasting experience – you go into a small theatre with 6 wines laid out with generous amounts of each, and tasting notes provided and a pencil to make your own notes. A movie plays, taking you over the green rolling Hawke’s Bay region in a helicopter – the varying wine regions explained. Then one at a time six winemakers talk you through each of the wines. I loved it, so relaxed, and I sat there for a few minutes afterwards retrying the wines.
There was also information about viticulture – with a mock vine and diagrams for pruning and training vines – plus information about winemaking – as well of course as the opportunity to try more wines in the shop – a shop I would happily have planted my sleeping bag in and lived there. I felt cloaked in the warmth of the exceptional NZ wines lining the walls and aisles.
What a fabulous way to introduce people to the wine region and to the wines in a bite-sized but sufficiently informative and enjoyable experience. I think every wine region and country needs this. Food – or wine – for thought…