BULA! Misha’s Vineyard Returns to Fiji

Misha’s Blog – June 2022

It was an unusual way to start a work week – arriving by boat to a luxurious resort on a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific – but that’s how our Fiji week started and it didn’t go downhill from there!

After a three-year gap, we returned to Fiji in mid-June for a week of working with our wonderful hotel and resort partners. We visited lots of customers and met some potential new ones, conducted wine training and rounded the week off with an event at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa.

Likuliku staff training
Basing ourselves at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa was fabulous and very convenient as it enabled us to spend time with our amazing wine distributor, Victoria Wines, who have a shop and office in Denarau Island. It’s also a great location to embark on island visits. Our first call was LikuLiku Lagoon Resort – a luxurious adults only resort – and the first one to have over-water bures. We were met by Tulia Seru, the Resort Manager, and conducted two sessions of wine training for the resort team – with a very nice lunch in between sessions. What a location – even the wait for our boat was a spectacular setting!

Misha, Jason & Hamish – at Vomo
We also did a day trip to Vomo Island – one of Fiji’s larger islands in the Mamanuca Island group and is the only resort on this island. Sandy beaches fringe Vomo which is actually an extinct volcano but also has an interior of lush greenery. It was great to catch up with Jason Blackburn, who manages the resort, (and whom we first met a few years when he was at the Sofitel Fiji). We also met Chris, who looks after Food & Beverage on the island and who has spent much of his career as a sommelier as well as making wine! It was fun to get the Vomo team together and get them excited about New Zealand wine in our training session.

Waiting for the ride back to Denarau
Generally it took a entire day to visit an island resort as the Victoria Wines launch was out of action for maintenance, so we either travelled with South Sea Cruises who have ferry services to connect to resorts, or sometimes the resort’s own staff boats! Either way, we enjoyed the 90 minutes or so on our commute generally with flat seas and perfect temperatures!

With Ralden at Shangri-La Resort
Our trip also included meetings with some of our key customers including the Shangri-La Fijian Resort – which was known just as The Fijian when it originally opened in 1967. It was one of the top resorts in Fiji for many years and brings back memories for me as it was where I stayed with my Mum on my first overseas holiday in my early twenties. It’s been revamped and remodelled over the years and now under the Shangri-La’s control, the 436 rooms and various restaurant and bar outlets are looking better than ever. We are delighted to have three of our wines served at the resort.

The amazing setting for our wine dinner at The Intercontinental
We also had a brief look around the Sheraton Fiji Golf and Beach Resort on Denarau Island which reopened in April having completed a multi million-dollar transformation. The resort has a range of new dining outlets and bars and has updated all of its 300 rooms. We were delighted to meet some of the new team there and hopefully we can spend some time on our next visit and try out of the new restaurants.

Our week finished at the beautiful InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa in Natadola, which is an hour’s drive south of Denarau Island. We had been working with the passionate Director of Dining and Entertainment, Bjoern Noeldner, on a special wine dinner. Wed had hand-carried many bottles of our dessert wine, The Cadenza, with us to add a finale to the multi-course degustation menu.

The location for our Misha’s Vineyard dinner was on the Chapel Lawn – a spectacular outdoor location which worked very well with a perfect evening. Under the leadership of Executive Chef David Bell, a fabulous menu was prepared to perfectly match six of the Misha’s Vineyard wines.

Our schedule for the week had been put together by our Fiji distributor Victoria Wines, with whom we’ve worked for the past ten years. The team has changed a little over the past three years as expected with the disruptions caused by COVID-19, so it was good to get them all together for some refresher wine training. We are honoured to be part of the Victoria Wines portfolio – an amazing collection of beautiful wines from around the world.

Tokoriki evening
Although it would be hard to say it was a ‘tough week of work’, it was still nice to have three days of not having meetings or conducting wine training, and we chose to spend our time off at Tokoriki Island Resort . It was great to reconnect with Robert Ring, GM of the resort and his wife Patrice. The level of detail across every aspect of the resort’s operation is so well managed by these two along with their incredible team. It’s not surprising Tokoriki Island Resort continues to be the most awarded adults-only boutique island resort and known to be one of the most romantic locations!

Over the 10 days in Fiji, I think I enjoyed Kokoda at least 4 times. It’s Fiji’s national dish and is basically a fresh fish ceviche. I have to say, the one I enjoyed the most was at Nadina – a restaurant specialising in local and traditional Fijian cuisine located in Port Denarau. It’s definitely something to try if you’re visiting Fiji!

Sota Tale – See you again, Fiji