The third ‘Summer of Riesling’ in New Zealand is upon us. Lovers of arguably the most noble of white wine varieties will have much to rejoice over the next three months. Starting today at the Christchurch South Island Wine and Food Festival, a programme of Riesling-focussed events commences throughout the country to celebrate the virtues and diversity of the grape. At the Christchurch festival a masterclass on New Zealand Riesling will be conducted with ‘Summer of Riesling’ merchandise being made available.
‘Summer of Riesling’ is not a formal or structured promotion, but rather, an ‘underground movement’ which anyone with a love of and passion for the variety can join. Retailers, bars, restaurants, distributors and wineries throughout the country will run their own take on increasing the awareness, discussion and consumption of Riesling wines. So expect to see more Rieslings ‘on by the glass’ and highlighted on wine lists, informal and casual tastings as well as serious and structured masterclasses, and other focussed happenings from now until the end of February in 2014. Of note is a ‘National Riesling Tasting’ in the Waipara Valley for international trade and media on Monday 3 February and a ‘Summer of Riesling Street Party’ in Wellington’s Edward Street precinct on Sunday 23 February.
The ‘Summer of Riesling’ campaign began in 2008 when Riesling aficionado Paul Grieco of the ‘Terroir’ wine bar in New York decided to only offer Riesling as the white wine pour over summer. Seemingly a constrictive action, the idea quickly became popular among his clientele and with his peers in the hospitality trade. Of course the variety is eminently suited to the summer weather and season, and the uptake has spread to the Southern Hemisphere making it a global phenomenon.
Angela Clifford of Tongue in Groove Wines in the Waipara Valley and Duncan Forsyth of Mount Edward in Central Otago have been the champions in New Zealand, introducing ‘Summer of Riesling’ for the first time in the summer of 2011-2012. For this year, there are already nearly 50 wineries and the same number of trade participants registered as being involved.
The Wineries and Trade Participating
Here are the wineries to date: Amisfield, Babich, Black Estate, Ceres, Escarpment, Esk Valley, Felton Road, Forrest, Framingham, Fromm, Greystone, Hunters, Main Divide, Maude, Millton, Mondillo, Mount Edward, Mt Difficulty, Mud House, Muddy Water, Nga Waka, Palliser Estate, Pegasus Bay, Peregrine, Prophets Rock, Rippon, Rock Ferry, Seresin, Spy Valley, Te Whare Ra, The Doctor’s, Thornbury, Tohu, Tongue in Groove, Valli, Vidal, Villa Maria, Waipara Hills, Woollaston and Zephyr.
The trade establishments involved so far are: Ancestral, Arbitrageur, Arrowtown Wine Store, Auricle, Blanc, Blanket Bay, Cazador, Charley Noble, Decant Vinters & Epicures, Eichardts, Fishbone, Floriditas, Glengarry Wines, Golden Dawn, Gorilla Bar, Harlequin Public House, Lake Hawea Hotel, Logan Brown, Martinborough Wine Centre, Monsoon Poon, Nor’Wester Café, Prego, Regional Wines, Roots Restaurant, St Johns, The Larder, The Rees Hotel, The Wine Loft Auckland, The Wine Loft Wellington, Tom Tom, Vivo, Vknow, Wanaka Winos, Wineseeker, and Winetastes Queenstown
The ‘Summer of Riesling’ website, www.summerofriesling.co.nz is the best place to obtain more information on the movement and what events are upcoming. One can also get notification on Twitter: @RieslingNZ and Facebook: NZ Summer of Riesling I’ll post on this website any events that take my fancy. For more information, please contact: Angela Clifford, Cell: 027 424-2871, Email: [email protected]