Winter weather calls for a pick me up. And when I say that, I mean of the alcoholic variety. Luckily, in July there are many new events to raise a glass to in Wellington.
In actual fact, it seems we're rather spoilt for choice. What with the New Zealand International Film Festival (a girl CLEARLY needs a bottle of Pinot Noir for the 6 hour's of Jane Campion's 'Top Of The Lake: China Girl'), Wellington On A Plate, The Lions Tour and more, you'll be having to pick and choose where to spend your pennies when it comes to getting on the razz (speaking of saving - fascinating fact: apparently power bills have been more expensive this Winter because it has been so dry - hydro-electric dams haven't been producing enough power because of #norain so power bills have been high - I FIND THIS SO INTERESTING! ANYONE ELSE?!).
I would urge you dear Resident reader, however, to go for quality over quantity - to truly savour the moment - and instead of wasting money on over-priced stadium beers, set aside a night for considered imbibing, where you can swirl fine wine around a large elegant glass, sticking your schnoz in and murmur the words "raspberry and nutmeg" over and over.
Therefore, I'm thankful for the entry stage-left of a new kid on the block, premiere Wine Festival, 'Winetopia', presented by the good folk at Singapore Airlines on 14 - 15th July at Shed 6. And boy, oh boy - if the numbness of my fingers as I type this blog post in fingerless gloves and a shawl in bed by a drafty windows is anything go by, it couldn't come soon enough!
WHAT IS WINETOPIA?
So what is Winetopia? While the name may be a bit of a giveaway, this event aims to be a utopia of wine (geddit!?). Utopia is a book by Sir Thomas More that describes an imaginary ideal society free of poverty and suffering. The expression utopia is coined from Greek words and means “no place.” So let's be honest, this is pretty much the state one imagines one is in when drinking a glass or three of good Merlot. Frankly, do you really need to know any more?
In all seriousness, it's New Zealand’s largest wine tasting event, born in Auckland (we won't hold that against it), and boasting a bold 200 varietals from 37 of NZ's top wineries from Central Otago to Northland. They're all about getting people to try new types of wine and taking a walk on the wild side. So swap that boring Sav for a Viognier and let's go, I say!
ALRIGHT, SO WE KNOW THERE IS WINE - WHAT ELSE?
At Winetopia, you'll find food (hello House of Dumplings and Dukes of Sandwich!!), some masterclasses held by seriously knowledgeable wine folk Josh Pointon (Noble Rot Wine Bar), Kate Hutchison (Capitol Restaurant), Matthew Bocock (WBC) and Simon Waghorn (Astrolabe) and lots of live music. You can also win a trip to Paris with Singapore Airlines as well (mais oui!!). Wowee! If the photos of people smiling at last year's event below are anything to go by, it sounds like a heck of a lot of fun (I haven't a clue who they are, so feel free to enlighten me in the comments if you recognise anyone you know and whether they've been seen since or whether their last known sighting was at Winetopia 2016, falling into an oversized glass!!).
WHO'LL BE THERE?
There will be tasting masterclasses from New Zealand Masters of Wine, Stephen Wong and Bob Campbell (which are an additional $20). Attendees will also get the chance to sample expert food pairings, and join Brendhan Lovegrove to “share a glass” and a chat with well-known wine loving personalities including television presenter, Mark Sainsbury, editor of The Dominion Post, Bernadette Courtney, musician, Samuel Flynn Scott and Garage Project’s Jos Ruffell for free. Personally, I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Sainsbury. I once saw him shopping at Moore Wilson's and had to prop myself up against the sausage cooler to prevent myself from fainting.
Tickets to the event are $35, which gets you entry but also includes a glass of wine by 'Spiegelau' and 5 tastings, which should be enough to get the party started. There are 3 sessions, one on Friday 5pm - 8:30 pm, Saturday 12pm - 3:30pm and Saturday again 4:30pm - 8pm. However, make sure that if you do attend Winetopia do not make it an attempt to get totally plastered! If you really can't trust yourself spit, don't swallow (wise words to live by)!
GIVEAWAY DID I HEAR YOU SAY?
ALRIGHT. I'll get to the good bit! I'm giving away a double pass as a prize to the Friday night session. This will include entrance, five wine tasting tokens (valued at $10), a Spiegelau wine glass (valued at $20), free talks & entertainment. Make sure you still bring your wallet because you DO have to pay for further wine after that, but this will help get you in the door!
To enter, simply share this post from 'The Residents' Facebook page, give the page a like, and make sure that your settings are set to public so that I can see that you have in fact shared. Giveaway is only for the Wellington event! I'll draw on the Friday 7th July.
GOOD LUCK AND SEE YOU AT WINETOPIA!