Scenic and Memorable Debut in Wine

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Sarah Szegota
Since: Nov 2010 Posts: 130

Trainee Manager of Majestic Wine Sevenoaks (UK), James Reina shares his travel stories from travelling around New Zealand. James tells us about the fantastic wineries he’s visited and how his travels inspired him to start a career into the world of wine…

A few years ago, I found myself perched atop Coronet Peak mountain, majestically poised in the heart of the Southern Alps of New Zealand’s Central Otago region. The brisk wind swayed me as I admired the wonderful view down the Kawarau Valley to Lake Wakatipu from 1649 metres up. I had just qualified as a fully-fledged snowboard instructor and was enjoying my last few days in Queenstown.

My girlfriend (now wife) and I had arranged to do the ‘done’ thing and hired a camper-van to explore the rest of the country. We collected our van the following morning and began our quest for the sights and sounds of New Zealand. Little did I know that this journey would be the catalyst for a newfound passion that would become my career.

We planned a route that would take in most of the classic sights, Milford Sound, Fox Glacier, Rotorua and so on. All well and good, but what I hadn’t counted on was a tiny boutique winery in the small port of Kaikoura. We stopped in Kaikoura to watch whales but on a gloriously sunny afternoon stumbled across the town winery standing proudly on a limestone bluff overlooking the bay. It was here after a captivating visit and tasting that I decided I wanted to work in the wine industry, inspired by the location, geometric beauty of the vineyards and smartly trimmed plants bearing the fruit that creates the most prized of beverages.

Realising we were just a short hop from the heartland of the most successful wine district to emerge in the past 30 years, we decided to head on to Marlborough and see what all the fuss was about....

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