On Saturday I helped pour wine at the Wine and Food Festival in Christchurch. I was stationed in the Riedel-sponsored seminar tent (and for a wineglass nerd like me, it was quite a spectacle just to see the sheer number of glasses used for this event – and knowing their retail value this made my head spin a bit – but I do believe we went the entire day without a single broken one!), which played host to several New Zealand wine experts, including Bob Campbell, Jo Burzynska, Yvonne Lorkin, and Garth Gallaway. The seminars were intended to be fun and informal, with themes ranging from playing up New Zealand whites other than Sauvignon Blanc to learning how to pair wine with music (interestingly, the only time I heard scientific studies mentioned at any point in the day was in this seminar taught by Jo Burzynska – the juxtaposition of music- undisputably an art, with science in this seminar was certainly not lost on me, though in this case the science was used in an attempt to lend validity to the assertion that music can affect the taste of a wine. Honestly though, to me, trying it out for myself* was far more convincing than hearing about a tiny smattering of scientific studies on the subject).
Over 50 South Island wineries were also represented at the Festival, and I had a chance to briefly meet a few of these people (including people from The Crater Rim, Pyramid Valley, Neudorf, The Third Man, Pegasus Bay, and Allan Scott) though most of my day was spent pouring wines for the seminars (this also meant that I did not have the chance to hear any of the Kiwi bands that played, but getting a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at an event like this was worth it).
*Possibly an interesting experiment to try at home? The idea is basically to taste a wine in silence as well as with a few different styles of music, and see if you get different aromas/flavors/associations from the same wine in the different auditory environments.
**Of the couple bottles of leftover wine that I brought home and took to a friend’s birthday BBQ the next day, the favorite actually happened to not be a New Zealand wine but a Portugese bottle called DouROSA from the winery Quinta de la Rosa in the Doura region.