By Raymond Chan
I’ve had a strong relationship for as long as I can remember with wine distributors Negociants NZ. It’s a combination of many factors, including the ultra-strong range of blue-chip imported wine brands complemented with an equally strong range of New Zealand wines. The company is part of the international Negociants business of the Hill Smith family, owners of Yalumba, and hence the Australian brands are also impeccable. The most important aspect of Negociants NZ is the personnel, led by Clive Weston. Their integrity, openness and professionalism put the company in a special place for me, and I know we have conducted good business over the years.
One of the most anticipated trade and hospitality events on the wine calendar is the Negociants ‘Kiwi and Aussie Winemakers Tour’. Recently, it has been opened up to the public, so that wine lovers can taste a superb selection of wines and talk directly to the winemakers of some of Australasia’s best wines. The tour was conducted in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, over 15-18 June. With around two dozen wineries and specialty hospitality producers and just over 120 wines to taste, it’s not overly onerous, but there’s still too much to make full assessments. It’s more an opportunity of getting overall impressions or being selective. Negociants NZ have conducted limited-place masterclasses at the tours to focus of specialty topics and styles as opportunities of more in-depth discussion.
This year, I made the effort of meeting each exhibitor, taking a photo of them on my cellphone camera, asking them to pour only one wine from what they were showing for me to taste. It would have been too easy to show the most prestigious and most expensive wine (which some did). Others showed new release wines, and other something different from the norm. It was a very interesting exercise.
New Zealand Winery Exhibitors