On Tour NZ – Auckland & Northland – October 2020 – Andy headed North to visit customs and do an update to the Negociants NZ team
Following on from our visit to some fantastic customers in the lower and mid-North Island in August I had the opportunity in early October to spend a couple of days in Auckland and three days in Northland visiting customers and doing an update on business & wines to our sales team at Negociants NZ. The lack of international travel has given us the wonderful opportunity to focus more locally and get to see more of New Zealand – and we are really enjoying it!
Auckland restaurants have had everything thrown at them! Disruption with roadworks for the Britomart rail project has had city streets in total disarray for a couple of years with access to restaurants and popular downtown locations severely impacted. Add to that the initial Covid-19 lockdown then the subsequent Auckland Level 3 lockdown and it seems inconceivable how they have survived – hiring then standing down staff, food waste and still having rents to pay! However their resilience is amazing and the positive energy from the ones I visited is truly inspiring. Some great new venues are opening – and some of the favourites are gearing up for Summer.
Ostro is in a wonderful upstairs location at Britomart with The Deck Bar and Ostro restaurant overlooking the harbour. Simon and the team are ready with some great menus and wines for Summer. Botswana Butchery was a great stop for lunch following a meeting and wine tasting with Piers at Harbourside Oceanside Bar and Grill upstairs. Suhrud from White & Wongs joined us to look through the range of Misha’s Vineyard wines.
On Wednesday I headed north – to Waipapa, Paihia and Russell. It has been a couple of years since the last visit to Northland and what was noticeable was the growth in the number of permanent residents. All restaurants commented that while it was still quite difficult without the usual flood of international tourists, the movement of Auckland workers who can “work from home” to now live in the north has made a big difference to the local restaurants and wine store. Plus the local tourist increases has helped with Kiwi’s having cancelled international holidays now seeing their own back yard – and loving what they see! It was great to see Clayton in Waipapa, Steve at Ferment in Kerikeri, Marcus at his new restaurant Terra in Paihia, Amy, Colin & Scotty at Butterfish, Rachel & Paul at The Gantry amongst many great customers.
Northland is a special place. Beautiful beaches and bays, incredibly friendly people and a climate that was a pleasant change from the Central Otago spring chills. We will be back soon!