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Coolest little wine festival

The North Canterbury Wine & Food Festival returns to the Glenmark Domain in March, showcasing the very best the region has to offer.




Following the popular event held earlier in the year, organisers are now getting ready for another brilliant festival that is set to feature 30 local wineries and more than 20 stalls offering a bounty of local and seasonal fare.
There really will be something on offer for everyone at ‘the coolest little wine festival’ on Sunday 8 March and it’s only a 45-minute drive north of Christchurch.

As you wander the beautiful grounds, you’ll have the opportunity to talk directly to the food and wine producers, and sample a range of local delicacies as well as new, exciting flavours.

When it’s time for a break, grab your favourite beverage and stop off at one of the food trucks. Enjoy the sunshine as you listen to some awesome tunes from local musicians and DJs.

Another popular attraction will be the Makers’ Market, a place where artisans share their skills through classes and demonstrations, and also the Talk Tent, which allows producers time to discuss provenance and sustainability.

The family-friendly festival will also include a bouncy castle, face painting and entertainment for the kids.

The North Canterbury Wine & Food Festival will be held on Sunday 8 March 2020, from 10:30am to 5pm at the Glenmark Domain, Waipara, North Canterbury.

Keep an eye out on for a full list of stallholders and the musical line-up!




Toast to champagne

At this time of year, we are turning our heads to celebrations; Christmas parties and family get-togethers. Regardless of the event, nothing says celebration like the most prestigious of wines: champagne.



A severe set of winters in the 49th parallel north in the 1600s saw the French offloading late-fermenting, sweet – about 30 grams of sugar per bottle – slushy pink bubbly stuff to the English. Surprisingly, they started to really love it.

It wasn’t until Dom Pérignon refined the process in 1662 and the invention by the English of a bottle that could take the pressure of the bubbles that the beverage began to take its modern form.

Today there are 260-odd champagne houses in France and each has a rich history; from the story of Clicquot, a woman widowed at 30 with a young baby who invented the riddling process and built a fierce empire, to the tale of Jean-Rémy Moët who became famous as a supplier to Napoleon and his armies.

Most champagne is comprised of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier, but what champagne is best, and why? What do you choose for that special moment when you celebrate?

I’ve been fortunate enough to taste some of the best that the world of champagne has to offer and it all comes down to personal taste and style. At a recent Laurent Perrier masterclass, I sampled the Cuvée Rosé, Grand Siècle, the Ultra and La Cuvée; all stunning champagnes but I found base champagne the Ultra was my favourite. My go-to is Veuve Clicquot but many of my friends prefer Moët or Dom Pérignon. The choices per brand are also wide. Do you go for a vintage? A rosé? A Brut? Here are some highlights that stand out for me this Christmas.

Moët & Chandon is set to unveil its holiday-season collection to mark the 150th anniversary of its flagship expression, Moët Impérial. This limited-edition bottle is dressed for the holidays in a shimmering gold leaf sleeve. Veuve Clicquot Pencil and Clicquot Pencil Rosé also have special cases, one that keeps your bottle chilled for up to two hours! Then there’s the biggie, the new limited-edition collaboration between Dom Pérignon and Lenny Kravitz. Dom Pérignon is 2008 vintage only – it’s hard to get hold of and retails for $300.

Napoleon Bonaparte would take Moët to each battle. After all, he was said to say, ‘In victory you deserve it; in defeat you need it’. Salut!




Wines for the taste conscious!: The Winemaker’s Wife

The Winemaker’s Wife wines are the creation of husband and wife business partners, Simon McGeorge and Olive Hill.


Their back-label reads, ‘This wine celebrates our partnership and is a tribute to all that can be achieved by two people working together’.

Clearly their partnership works as they are into their fifth vintage. Simon is a multi-award-winning winemaker, with more than 20 years’ experience, making fine wines for international and New Zealand brands. Olive is a gregarious individual with a love of history, socialising and bright red lipstick.

Together they have created a fantastic range of Waipara wines that include a fabulous 2019 pinot rosé, contemporary-styled chardonnay, incredible riesling, crisp pinot gris and bright, fruity pinot noir. If you have not yet tried their wines, you must. You can purchase online (NZ-wide delivery), at Fresh Choice stores or from Liquor King, Carlton Mill Corner. Cheers!




What’s in the cellar?

There’s a gentleman at FreshChoice Merivale’s Wine Cellar, Andy Gutschlag, who has a real understanding and appreciation for finding the perfect partnership between food and beverages. We caught up with Andy about his top tips.




Can you tell us about yourself?
I have spent most of my life in Christchurch. After graduating as a primary school teacher, I lived in Taiwan for two years working for a New Zealand Export Company. Part of my role was based in Asia and Europe, where I developed a love of sharing wine and food. I really follow ‘when in Rome’.

How did the Cellar idea come about?
Craig, the store owner, has always dreamed of the day we could open the Cellar. He has been collecting wines for the last 15 years for the sole goal of sharing them with our customers. They have all been stored in an offsite cellar, under perfect conditions.

How do you choose what to purchase?
We taste a lot of wine and travel to different wine regions to find new products. Planning must be at least five years ahead to ensure we have the best wines to add to our cellar.

Tell us about the range. What are your favourites?
That’s a hard question! I am a big fan of shiraz, especially the Barrosa Australia, and the Rhône Valley in France. I’m also a bit of riesling freak. Now I’m enjoying chardonnay from around the world. I try to list wines that people can match with great food and share with friends. If I had to pick a favourite now it would be the Rockford Basket Press Shiraz.

What should laymen on the street know when buying a good wine?
Taste different wines and fine a style that you enjoy, then get out of your comfort zone and try something new every so often. Find a retailer that will listen to you, share what you like and give feedback on any suggestions they give you. Share your wines with friends, enjoy them with great food and create a few good stories!

What are your rules when buying wine?
Drink what you enjoy, not what someone tells you to enjoy. Share your wines surrounded with great friends and loads of foodie experiences. Every so often take a risk and try something new. Just enjoy the moment.



Twilight in the Vines: CharRees Vineyard

Good things have always been said to come in small packages and when it comes to certain things in life, it’s all about quality over quantity.



CharRees meets both these briefs in a small family owned boutique vineyard just off State Highway One on southern edge of Ashburton, just south of Tinwald. It’s the place to be on Saturday 23 November when this year’s Twilight in the Vines hits the social calendar. We’re sure you don’t need an excuse to sit amongst the vines with your favourite wine-drinking friends and savour the flavour that Ashburton’s only vineyard has to offer, but if you do, then this is it.

There will also be live music and you can indulge in an alfresco dining experience from local caterers. Turning their talented hands to top quality Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Reisling wines, CharRees Vineyard also offers a world-famous (in Ashburton) Sparkling Pearl wine, which is a delicate combination of Reisling and Pinot Gris in a Sparkling form – a must try!

While Mid Canterbury might be a little off the winery radar, its regional climate helps the grapes mature slowly at a steady pace, creating an ideal ripening environment. With this in mind, the grapes from CharRees Vineyard are selectively hand harvested for optimum flavour from this terroir. But the best way is to experience it for yourself.

Find CharRees Vineyard at 22 Laings Road, Ashburton, phone 0800 2427 7337 or visit



On the grapevine

Raise a glass! It’s time to toast the most popular wine trends of 2019. Is more rosé on the way or is riesling the next big thing? We’ve got a sneak peek – after all, we heard it on the grapevine!



  1. Pink power
    Drumroll please… rosé is here to stay! Not only reserved for summer, the pink drink has quickly become a firm favourite among Kiwis over recent years, with a ton of options just a supermarket shop away. Local brands from Northland down to Central Otago will continue to put their own delish twist on this punchy wine – cocktail creations are on the horizon! Bonus: its rose-tinted hues make for super Instagrammable pics!

  2. Conscious consumers
    Wine is another product that’s quickly joining the sustainability train due to skyrocketing demand for organic, biodynamic and vegan-friendly bubbles – shock alert: most wines are not vegan, and this might be news to those who’ve adopted the vegan lifestyle. In 2019 we can expect to see dozens more environmentally friendly options on the shelves of the organic, biodynamic and/or vegan variety. Head to for a comprehensive vegan wine list.

  3. Prosecco passion
    Prosecco? I’ll take two please! Good news: these once-haughty bubbles are no longer just reserved for the Christmas banquet. A golden, sophisticated Italian beauty, prosecco is generally a lot easier on both the pocket and the palate than its better-known sibling champagne. These sparkling suds will continue to grow in popularity this year in New Zealand following its fashionable ubiquity overseas in 2018.


A Vintage Wedding: Cross Hares


The guests raise their glasses in reply to the toast just given by the best man, “To the bride and groom!” They sip their wine, they become silent, they sip again, they smile. The bride watches her guests chatting across the tables, hears their laughter. She murmurs to the groom, “Look, the Cross Hares Effect”.

The groom sees his mother quaffing her ‘Greenman’ pinot noir and flirting with the bride’s father. He nudges the bride. “Your Dad’s just finished his ‘Ahuriri Run’ pinot gris and now he’s signalling the waiter for the following year’s vintage.” His bride giggles, “Wait till he tries the ‘Ahuriri Run’ 2018!” They look at the happy faces around them.

“Clever you,” says the groom, raising his glass to his bride. “To Cross Hares wines,” she replies, raising her glass, “The best decision I ever made… apart from saying yes to you, darling!”

For more information email or visit

Cross Hares Winery

Year of the Hare: Cross Hares Winery

They may describe themselves as ‘accidental winegrowers’, but Natalie and Warrick Edwards, of Cross Hares Winery, have certainly proved that where there’s a will, there’s a way.


Cross Hares Winery


After the September 2010 earthquake saw the Edwards’ family having to farewell their irreparable home forever, Natalie and Warrick had to seriously rethink their lives. “So, we bought a rundown vineyard, as you do,” Natalie laughs. “We knew nothing about growing grapes, but we’re not afraid of hard work, so we rolled up our sleeves and got busy.”

Fast forward to 2014 and our stalwart couple found themselves doing the hard slog of tightening wires, mending broken poles, lifting irrigation lines and repairing irrigation leaks – all 100 of them! Next step was to get expert advice. Lincoln University lecturer and vineyard owner Glen Creasy was the man who helped regenerate and restore the neglected vines to their former glory; so much so that Natalie and Warrick felt confident to approach The Crater Rim Winery and re-establish a former connection whereby they would sell their fruit to them.


Cross Hares Winery

Their vintage 2016 saw a bumper yield of 6.9 tonnes of Pinot Noir and 7.1 tonnes of Pinot Gris harvested for The Crater Rim while later, another 3.5 tonnes of Pinot Gris were picked for themselves. ‘Ahuriri Run’ (named in tribute to the vineyard being formerly part of the Rhodes’ brothers Ahuriri Run) produced 2,800 bottles.

Torrential rain in February 2017 drastically cut their expected fruit yield, but taking it on the chin, as all good farmers must, they harvested the 4.0 tonnes in total that remained and produced their 2017 ‘Ahuriri Run’ Pinot Gris and 2017 ‘Greenman’ Pinot Noir.


Cross Hares Winery

In September, the vintage 2018 Pinot Noir will be bottled. Natalie says they can’t wait, but in the meantime, the very important decision of what to call it has to be made. Cross Hares may well be Banks Peninsula’s best kept secret, but with an increasing remote online sales presence, plus the projected launch of an onsite cellar door at year’s end, expect the name, just like those hares, to be crossing your path very soon.


Located at 7/1269 Christchurch Akaroa Road, Tai Tapu. For more information phone 027 724 3015 or email


The Monday Room

A partnership of perfection: The Monday Room

Creating the perfect marriage between cuisine and wine is a unique art and one which local institution The Monday Room has up its culinary sleeve.


The Monday Room


With Head Chef Eeva Torvinen turning her talented hand to creating a menu that utilises the techniques and flavours of her Finnish background to bring flavour to the table, the central city hotspot is a dining destination not to be missed.  “I want to create dishes that make people talk while they dine,” Eeva says.

Metropol catches up with Eeva about popular dish Three Little Pigs, while renowned Wine Consultant at Wine Sentience, Stephen Wong finds its perfect partnership in a local Waipara tipple that offers an exquisite complement.


Meal: Three Little Pigs
Three Little Pigs is a dish that has three different parts of pork, cooked in different ways, Eeva explains.
“Slow-cooked pork cheek, also known as pork jowl, is fatty and rich. It is wrapped in savoy cabbage leaves, which are blanched and glazed with syrup to add sweetness,” she says.
“Pork fillet is cured and then sous vide for four hours, producing a tender, lean fillet which is then pan fried for colour and flavour. Meanwhile, belly bacon is cooked slowly until it is crispy, bringing saltiness and texture to the dish.”
The pork combination is then combined with smooth and buttery parsnip puree and finished with a Nordic inspired tart, while sea buckthorn dressing gives a sweet and sour flavour profile.


The Monday Room


Wine match: Black Estate Damsteep Riesling 2017
According to Wine Consultant at Wine Sentience, Stephen Wong, Riesling which is often overlooked, yet infinitely versatile, could have been purpose built for Three Little Pigs; a dish which delivers rich, fatty sweetness sandwiched between savoury, saline austerity and fresh crunchy astringency.

“It resonates with the kaleidoscope of Riesling’s varied expression in much the same way that a classic chypre perfume is composed of a trinity of interlinked but contrasting vertices.” Thankfully, Canterbury is home to some of New Zealand’s most celebrated expressions of Riesling – with the complex patchwork of soils; from gravel to clay to limestone allowing this noble grape to display its riches fully.

“Black Estate’s minimal-interventionist Damsteep Riesling 2017 hails from an organic vineyard at the foot of the Omihi saddle, planted during the previous millenium.  “Perceptibly dry and racy yet powerfully built and arrestingly perfumed, it is as refreshing as it is profound; weaving a narrative of cloudy skies over bleak rolling hills, yet tinged with a honeyed stonefruit sweetness of nostalgia and finishing on a note of stoic pithiness and chalky resilience.”



Rossendale Vineyard

Only the best! Rossendale Vineyard

Only the best is good enough for the team at specialist wedding and event venue, Rossendale Vineyard. They are constantly looking for ways to improve their already consummate service to clients.


Rossendale Vineyard


“We have made a small change to our name to make it trip off the tongue more easily,” says manager Graham Jones. “We’re now Rossendale Vineyard rather than The Vineyard@Rossendale. Many people used to refer to us as that anyway.”  Now too there is a stunning video of the venue and its surrounding environment online at

Much of the footage was shot from a drone and the aerial views only serve to reinforce just how picturesque the rural vineyard setting is. It would be very difficult not to fall in love with the place immediately and say “That’s where I want to have my wedding. Nowhere else will do.”

There are also shots of the interior of the elegant specially-designed venue itself, superbly dressed for a sumptuous wedding feast. “The video complements the 360-degree tour of the venue that we have had online for some time. We have found that to be extremely useful, especially for potential clients from overseas so they can see what we have to offer.”

The team from Rossendale Vineyard will be at the Great New Zealand Bridal Show at the Addington Events Centre on Sunday 31 March between 9am and 3:30pm. Graham will show you how Rossendale Vineyard can turn your wedding ideas into reality. Otherwise you can contact him on 03 322 7780 or email