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Wine stars come to Hawkes Bay to talk Syrah

Media Release
17 April 2006

International wine stars come to Hawkes Bay to talk Syrah

Hawke’s Bay will play host to stars of the international wine world next January when it holds a one-day symposium on Syrah.

The symposium is being organised by local winemakers as part of an extended programme for those attending the Pinot Noir 2007 celebration in Wellington.

A symposium on Riesling and Pinot Gris is also being held in Nelson the weekend after Pinot Noir 2007.

The Syrah Symposium will be held on Saturday 27 January 2007 and provide delegates with a chance to taste some of New Zealand’s finest Syrahs alongside top international examples, explore some of the region’s vineyards and enjoy discussions on such topics as New Zealand’s Place in the World of Syrah, Terroir and its Relevance and The Evolution of Syrah Wine Styles in the New World.

Among the guest speakers will be the world’s leading international Syrah commentator Remington Norman (UK) and leading winemakers Michael Havens from the USA and Tom Carson from Australia.

Remington Norman founded La Réserve, the group of London wine shops that became internationally famous as specialist dealers in old and rare wines.

He became a Master of Wine in 1984 and is the author of a number of award-winning books including The Great Domaines of Burgundy and Rhône Renaissance.

In 1995 he was elected to the Académie International du Vin, an honour accorded to very few people not directly involved in winemaking.

Michael Havens is the driving force behind Havens Wine Cellars, a Napa Valley winery recently voted one of the top 10 Syrah producers in the USA.

Michael started out making wines as a hobby while studying for his doctorate in humanities. He started Havens Wines in 1984 and the winery now concentrates on making Syrah and Merlot.

Havens Wine Cellars is a pioneer in micro-oxygenation – a technique which uses controlled, long-term exposure to oxygen to enhance the structure of tannins.

Tom Carson has been winemaker at one of Australia’s oldest wineries – Yering Station in the Yarra Valley – since 1996. He shot to fame in 2004 when he won three trophies at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London for Pinot Noir of the Year, Australian Winery of the Year and Winemaker of the Year.

His career has included a two year stint in Burgundy, as well as time at Tim Knappstein Wines and Domaine Chandon, and he has a self-confessed passion for Pinot Noir.

Symposia spokesperson Rod McDonald from Vidal Wines says it’s an honour to have such leading wine authorities present alongside two of Hawke’s Bay’s own – Alan Limmer from Stonecroft and John Hancock from Trinity Hill.

“Syrah is without a doubt the most exciting red wine being made in Hawke’s Bay, and the scope for new grape plantings and development of a New World benchmark wine style is enormous.”

As well as commentary, discussion, tastings and tours, the Syrah Symposium will also include a gourmet picnic lunch and a festival dinner hosted by local wine producers.

For more information on the symposium or to register, contact Lyn Bevin, Executive Officer, Hawke’s Bay Winemakers Ltd, on 06 876 7159 or

Registrations for the Syrah and Riesling and Pinot Gris Symposia as well as Pinot Noir 2007 are also now open via the website


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