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Speed dating brings aged wines to global guests

Speed dating brings aged wines to global guests in Hawke’s Bay

Adopting a ‘speed dating’ format gave 21 international wine influentials the opportunity to chat personally with 15 Hawke’s Bay winemakers and taste their selected aged wine before dining in the original home of A J Vidal at Clearview Estate Winery, at the conclusion of the two-day Hawke’s Bay Our World in Your Glass event.

Held over 24 and 25 January, the event was organised by Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Inc., to showcase the region and its wines to global wine media and educators in New Zealand ahead of the Pinot Noir conference being held in Wellington this week.

The format was relaxed and fun, with the speed dating conclusion just one of the quirky events on offer. Others included a bike ride to various wineries through Hawke’s Bay wine country, a Syrah versus Bay Blends debate adjudicated by Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule, self pour blind tastings, and a tapas and matched wine dinner on the first night.

With a vintage school bell ringing the six minute intervals, the guests enthusiastically talked with local winemakers, taking notes and recording impressions on electronic devices.

Among those attending were Tim Atkin MW, who writes for The World Fine Wine, OLN, and a number of other publications and regularly appears on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen, Matthew Jukes from the UK Daily News, and a group of eight Asian writers, trade and educators.

All the wines were 2007 or older with the oldest being a 1998 Vidal Joseph Soler Cabernet Sauvignon. Clearview’s offering was a 1.5L magnum of 2007 Endeavour, the winery’s premium Chardonnay made from exceptional hand-picked grapes from the oldest Mendoza vines on the property that was the original Vidal vineyard in Hawke’s Bay.

“The buzz was electric,” says Charles Gear, Clearview general manager, who organised the unique Clearview event. “It was relaxed and although there was a bell to call time, if people hadn’t finished talking, they just carried on. The atmosphere was extremely affable.”

Tim Turvey, co-founder and Clearview winemaker, welcomed guests to the dinner that was held in the century old original homestead of the Vidal family. It was the first time the lounge had been reconfigured to host a dinner and he suggested that its success would see more such events in the future.


Established by Tim Turvey and Helma van den Berg in 1989, Clearview Estate continues as a family owned and operated business – handcrafted wines are grown, produced and bottled onsite. Renowned for award-winning Chardonnays and full bodied red wines, their rustic and iconic ‘red shed’ restaurant pioneered vineyard seaside dining in 1991 by combining a cellar door in a leafy vineyard courtyard setting.
Situated on the coastline of Hawke's Bay at Te Awanga, the Estate enjoys a unique microclimate, virtually frost-free with a warm, extended growing season and refreshing sea breezes. Clearview Estate focuses on quality; producing wines of great fruit intensity with a strong commitment to sustainability in all aspects of the business.

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