New Zealand: Three months in

TumbleweedAs you may have gathered from the tumbleweed that has been drifting through this blog recently, I’ve been pretty busy and – also – still trying to work out how to write about wine and all that I love about it without being either hopelessly biased or – indeed – hopelessly fired! Some wiser people than me have been very helpful with advice and guidance, so I think I will be up and running again soon – probably writing more thematically than trying to review wines, but we shall see what happens!

Anyway, I thought that I should write something in February, especially as it suddenly hit me that I have been here for three months. My goodness time flies when you’re having fun… Normally when I say that, it is with a sardonically raised eyebrow and a hefty sense of sarcasm, but – on this occasion – it’s true. I can’t believe it’s been three months already and it has been a lot of fun. Of course, being so far from home, family and friends has been tough at times, and there have been low moments, but – in general – this other-side-of-the-world malarkey has been a great adventure.

Three months in: things learned so far…

1477863_10151763028131805_747924599_n1) There are no hobbits in Marlborough, and a decided lack of elves, dwarves, dragons and other such creatures. This is not what Peter Jackson sold me with my cinema ticket… Mind you, I think I’m probably quite glad of the absence of orcs, trolls and wargs…

2) My small daughter is picking up a kiwi accent really fast – although it is sort of put on to amuse grown-ups. She has also rejected (for now) the use of the word “jandals” for flip-flops on account of it “not being a good word as it sounds too much like sandals and flip flops are different”. So there.

3) I learned it during my visit last year, but the Marlborough wine industry is by no means uniform. This will be particularly obvious this year, with huge crop levels a distinct possibility. There are those producers and growers that will drop a lot of fruit this year to maintain quality and demand, and there are those that will take all that nature provides and make hay while the sun shines… It’s going to be a very interesting year from that respect methinks.

4) I am terrible at carrying more than two plates at a time… I had to do some front of house work for the Seresin Waterfall Bay Dinners, and while many of the front of house team were happily wandering around with plates stacked along their arms, I was strictly a two-plate-gal. Any more than that and our guests would have been wearing their rabbit!

5) I am still utterly besotted with Marlborough Chardonnay. I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.

6) It is fascinating (if not a little frustrating) to see how different critics respond to the same wines. A wine that is marked highly by one, won’t even make the cut for another… Still, I suppose the world would be dull if everyone liked exactly the same things.

7) The Marlborough wine industry is – in my experience thus far – incredibly friendly. Of course, to a certain extent, everyone is in competition with each other and there are moments of conflict of course, but there is also a good sense of fraternity too, with everyone wanting the best for the region – even if there’s some difference in opinion regarding what that might be (cf. point 3).

1506949_10151870100851805_1317878787_n8) I am not missing studying! Have a few practice tastings set up in April – I think it will be a shock to the system. Especially after three months of almost-exclusively drinking NZ wine. Eek!

9) It is possible for me to not wear proper heels for three months. I put on my much loved 4″ stilettos during the Waterfall Bay Dinners and it felt very strange. Not strange in a bad way, but odd nonetheless. Especially standing on a floating wooden jetty, pouring bubbles – I’m not sure that 4″ stilettos were a wise choice, in hindsight!

10) While I do really miss being able to have easy access to a wide range of wines from all over the world, I am very glad that I haven’t yet tired of NZ wines… There are some fantastic wines here. That said, it felt really good to have a glass of Chablis yesterday – not least because it was Dauvissat.

So, there you go… I’ll be back with something more vinous, less me-oriented and less list-driven!


Today’s stuck-in-head-song – Black is the colour, Christy Moore

Today’s dinner – sausages and egg (classy eh)

Today’s drinks – Macs Hoprocker

Today’s footwear – brown suede wedges

 **Tumbleweed image not my own –**




1 Comment

  • Natalie says:

    Glad to hear that life and wine is good. Miss you all. Love the pic of you pouring the bubbles. ps. I’m sure I saw that piece of tumbleweed drifting along as we drove past your English house the other day :(

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