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General Blog




Wellington Wine Country Room Opened at Noble Rot Wine Bar


08-May-2018
The greater Wairarapa winegrowing region has a very strong bond with Wellington city. Many of the Wairarapa’s winegrowers originate from Wellington, and most of the wines from the district are sold in Wellington. It’s the natural order of things.

But it hasn’t always been that way. For some of the early stages of development of the industry in the Wairarapa, most winegrowers were focussed on what they were doing themselves, ensuring their survival, and not keen to give away any competitive advantage over a neighbour’s operation. This is extremely short-sighted, and eventually the winegrowers of Martinborough banded together to actively promote the wines as a collective. With a little more effort, the winegrowers from Gladstone and Masterton became included, and they formed Wairarapa Winegrowers, and eventually the marketing body ‘Wellington Wine Country’.

It is probably an accepted fact that a city will adopt the nearest winegrowing district as its own. The Wairarapa has always been Wellington’s playground, with many Wellington city dwellers enjoying recreation over the Rimutakas, and even owing property. The local wine is championed, but there was a stage when Wellington city wine lists had more Central Otago Pinot Noirs than Wairarapa Pinot Noirs on them. This was a travesty.

There has been a growing desire from the winegrowers of the Wairarapa and the Wellington hospitality industry to become closer together, and the ‘Wellington on a Plate’ promotion did much to foster closer relations.


Wellington Wine Country Activities Increase, and Noble Rot Wine Bar
In the middle of 2016, ‘Wellington Wine Country’ was established as the marketing arm of Wairarapa Winegrowers (click here to see my article). As happens, there have been personnel changes, and the Chairman of the Board is now Alan Lodge, a businessman who has been involved in local government, in the Wairarapa 30 years ago. Alan has as his fellow board members Larry McKenna, Christine Kernohan, Pip Goodwin and Jane Cooper, as well as Carol Bunn who has taken on much of the marketing and promotional activities. Rachael Fletcher is an independent director on the board. Tania DeJonge continues in administrative support. With this board, I have seen an increase in activity, some events I have been involved with, such as the hosting of several groups of international sommeliers. Facebook: @wellingtonwinecountry

One of the busiest Wellington hospitality establishments geared towards the education and selling of fine wine, Noble Rot Wine Bar has taken an active role in working with the winegrowers of the Wairarapa. The establishment of a ‘pop-up’ Wairarapa wine bar, called Match Wine Bar where a full selection of Wairarapa wines was promoted over the period of the ‘Wellington on a Plate’ is one example (click here for my report on attending this fun event in April 2016).

Alan Lodge and Carol Bunn, Wellington Wine Country

The Wellington Wine Country Room at Noble Rot Wine Bar
Wellington Wine Country and Noble Rot have made closer ties with the opening of the ‘Wellington Wine Room’ at Noble Rot Wine Bar – in the section that was the ‘smokers’ yard. This area is now fully enclosed with large glass windows and sliding doors which lead to a very smart room where private functions can be held. The 30 members of Wellington Wine Country have priority usage of the room to conduct release events and special tastings for around 20 people in my estimation. The first booking is with Larry McKenna of Escarpment Vineyard where he will conduct his 2016 ‘Single Vineyard’ Pinot Noir Release Tasting for the trade and hospitality personnel. I suspect this will be the first of many. many events in what is essentially a Wellington cellar door for these wineries.

Noble Rot will benefit from the regular custom of Wairarapa winegrowers and Wellington consumers who follow the wines of the Wairarapa. To further reinforce the association, Noble Rot Wine Bar owners Maciej Zimny and Josh Pointon have a wine list page devoted solely to Wairarapa wines. And no doubt, Wairarapa wines will feature on their ‘Noble Wines’ off-licence offerings. This is not only sound business, but clever business, as both parties continue to grow. For the Wellington-based wine lover, I can recommend Noble Rot as the place to go to experience Wairarapa wines. It’s the next best thing to going to the Wairarapa. www.noblerot.co.nz

Josh Pointon and Maciej Zimny, Noble Rot Wine Bar
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