Misha looks at some of the fab visitors we’re had over the past few months.
Although we don’t have a cellar door at the vineyard, we still host a lot of people and do private vineyard tours and tastings for the trade, media and special VIP guests (and some friends as well). It normally takes at least a couple of hours for a vineyard tour in our 4-wheel drive vehicles but a visit can sometimes stretch to 3 and 4 hours depending on how many photos people like taking on our rather spectacular vineyard and how many wines we taste back at the house! And of course we host a lot of overseas visitors who also stay for dinner and often overnight!
Over the past 2-3 months we’ve had visitors from everywhere and it’s been really enjoyable hosting them all. We had a group of sommeliers and restaurant owners from Melbourne and Brisbane visit us as part of a New Zealand tour by our Australian distributor, Fesq & Co. Not only did they get the full vineyard tour, but we also hosted a lunch at the old homestead at Bendigo Station with some of the local Central Otago foods matched to our range of wines. The group stayed at the Hilton Hotel in Queenstown, with whom we work, and where we also had a wonderful dinner with the group at the Wakatipu Grill – one of our favourite local restaurants.
Then continuing with the Australian theme, we hosted wine and travel journalist, Winsor Dobbin, who was in New Zealand as a guest of The Rees Hotel in Queenstown (another hotel we have a strong association with and who are great supporters of our wines). I’m not sure how it started but there’s ‘Hug Winsor’ campaign in Australia, so after the vineyard tour and wine tasting, then came the obligatory hug. We decided our big poodle Bogart could do the hugging – or was it the other way around? Anyway, we fulfilled the mission of getting Winsor captured in a ‘hug’ photo – and both seemed to enjoy it. We also had a group of vineyard owners from the Hunter Valley in NSW come to visit – Amanda and Keith Tulloch (from Keith Tulloch Wines) – who were amazed at the steepness of our vineyard and the amount of work it took to plant our vineyard. They remarked ‘You know you can grow grapes on a flat vineyard too don’t you?” Yes we know Keith, but how much fun would that be? We like the fact that a vineyard tour at Misha’s Vineyard is also a thrill ride!
We had the lovely Suzanne Brocklehurst from Singapore spend a few days with us as she explored the Central Otago wine region. Suzanne is a wine writer/wine judge and very nearly a Master of Wine. We’ve known Suzanne for ages but she has never seen the vineyard so it was fabulous to show her around – and what a spectacular day it was for our vineyard tour! And we did squeeze a lovely lunch at Mt Difficulty as well – one of our favourite spots for a lunch with a view! We then hosted a team from our Singapore distributor, Crystal Wines, who also brought some customers along, who are big fans of our wines (and sell a lot of them in Singapore!). We accommodated the group at the Golden Gate Lodge in Cromwell and for a couple of days we had lots of fun with them. We ensured the team had plenty of wine and good food while they were with us and we also wanted them to have a real Central Otago experience so their visit included sunset drinks on Lake Wanaka, a jet boat ride, ‘up close and personal’ time with sheep, some bungy jumping, and a real Kiwi BBQ, etc. Our other Singapore visitor was Master Brewer Scott Robertson, who’s been making the excellent beer at Brewerkz for many years. It was great to be able to return the favour as on our last trip to Singapore, Scott gave us a tour of his brewery along with some beer tasting!
Some of our other international visits included Akiko Yoshitake, a great fan of our wines from Japan, who’s visited us in New Zealand and is a regular face at our wine dinners in Japan and Singapore, and Mark Sukhija – a wine and travel blogger and ‘someone I met on Twitter’! Also Sarah Heller, from Hong Kong visited us with her fiancé Warwick. Sarah is Executive Director for Meiburg Wine Media (established by the lovely Debra Meiburg MW) and has just entered the MW program herself. I’m sure she’ll do well with Debra coaching her!
We were very honoured to have been on the list for a visit by the “Key Opinion Leaders” group from the wine industry from Hong Kong and China. The trip, sponsored by NZTE, had the group visit just a few key vineyards in New Zealand and was led by ex- wine journalist Jerry Hong. After a tour around the vineyard and a tasting, they stayed on for a Kiwi style BBQ at our house with a mix of New Zealand produce – much of it form local farms! They really enjoyed the meal – especially the Pavlova! Good old Kiwi Pavlova – it works its magic every time – everyone loves it. In fact we’ve even had emails from the group saying how much they liked the Pavlova! The group included wine educators, senior wine writers, the Chairman of the Greater China Wine Critics Association, and sommeliers from the China World Hotel in Beijing and the Langham Hotel in Shanghai. It was a pleasure to host them and have them see the Chinese connection to Misha’s Vineyard.
And don’t worry, we don’t just have overseas visitors, the past couple of months has seen visits by Anto Coates (the Wine Program Manager from the Fine Wine Delivery Company in Auckland) with his fiancé Helena, an impromptu visit by Wayne Bevins and Karen Nungtaisong who own the Blue Elephant – one of the top Thai restaurants in the country and big supporter of our wines, and Jenny Rothenberg from the New Zealand School of Food and Wine (which is run by Celia Hay in Auckland).
I have a feeling we’ll be hosting even more visitors to the vineyard this year with several booked in already! We love to show our spectacular site and we’re ready!