The following guest article is from Natalie and Erin of Wanderlust Wines, an exciting boutique wine importing company, operating here in New Zealand. Being partial to good quality wine here at Little Fish we will definitely be visiting your online store! You can view more information about their amazing selection of imported wines at www.wanderlustwines.co.nz.
Established by Natalie Beath and Erin Robson in July 2014, Wanderlust Wines Ltd is a boutique wine importing company. Friends since university, Natalie and Erin have been involved in the wine industry for a number of years. Natalie has trained as a winemaker and worked for a number of wineries around New Zealand and in California, while Erin has extensive experience in wine sales, marketing, and PR, having worked in both the New Zealand and in UK wine industry since 2000. Through their respective careers and travels, they have had the opportunity to visit many wine-producing regions around the world – in Europe, South Africa, Australia, South and North America and of course New Zealand.
Now both settled back in New Zealand, they recognised there was a real gap in the market for interesting, well-made, imported wines at reasonable prices. Tired of the limited selection of mass-produced wines, and missing the variety available overseas, they decided to establish their own business importing very small volumes from selected producers around the world. They have either visited or worked directly with the wineries they import from, and can personally recommend the wines and the producers. Their goal is to give passionate kiwi wine drinkers the opportunity to experience some truly memorable wines, to learn about the great variety of wines being produced about the world, and to explore the world of wine. All without having to leave home or spend a fortune!
My first job out of University was with Montana Wines. One of my projects was to take home six bottles of wine and sample them all. I was hooked! I loved working for Montana Wines, but after nearly three years the big OE was calling. Breaking into the UK wine industry was harder than I thought, but a role at Kiwicellars, a boutique NZ wine importing company, gave me a huge amount of invaluable experience helping run a small wine importing business. I then moved to Hallgarten Druitt as the New World Brand Manager and had the opportunity to work with some amazing wineries and people, including Saint Clair and Goldwater (NZ), Hamilton Russell (South Africa), Michel Torino (Argentina) and Parducci (USA) to name a few. My last job in the UK was working for Stratford’s Wine Agencies as PR Manager and covering the Marketing Managers role for a time. Again, I worked with some fantastic journalists and great wineries, such as Cable Bay (NZ), Paxton and Pirie (Australia), Domaine Paul Mas (France), Anakena (Chile) and De Grendel (South Africa).
My time in the UK enabled me to travel to many different wine producing countries and I loved exploring the different regions and wines, but after eight years in the UK, it was time to come home. Natalie and I had always talked about doing something in wine one day – Nat could make the wine and I could sell it! We aren’t quite making our own wine just yet, but from those conversations, Wanderlust Wines was born.
Studying History and Politics at university, I’d originally planned to become a diplomat. But while working for the NZ Government in London, I got sidetracked when I discovered there was a whole world of amazing wine out there just waiting to be tasted! Between travelling to wine regions throughout France, Italy and Spain, and working my way through the lists in London’s wine bars, I barely had time for an office job.
After four years in the UK, I decided to take the plunge and move back to New Zealand, working my first harvest at Saint Clair Family Estate in Blenheim. I loved the excitement of harvest, the crazy hours and the hard slog and was convinced that the wine industry was where I wanted to be. I moved to the Hawke’s Bay and completed my Bachelor of Wine Science degree in 2012. During that time, I worked for Craggy Range Winery, where I was exposed to some of the best wines produced in New Zealand. Since then I’ve also worked harvests at Peregrine in Central Otago, Man O’ War on Waiheke Island and Westbrook in West Auckland.
In between New Zealand harvests, I worked in California, at Jonata in the Santa Ynez Valley and Du Mol in Russian River, both fantastic producers making exceptionally high-quality wine. Travelling throughout the Californian wine regions and up to Oregon, I discovered some amazing boutique producers who I would love to introduce to New Zealand some day.
When I’m not working in wine, I’m trying to travel to wine regions around the world! I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in wine regions in Argentina and Chile, Italy, France, and Spain. I’m also slightly obsessive about great wine and food and spend much of my spare time cooking, eating and drinking wine.
I love New Zealand wine, but I’m also passionate about introducing New Zealand wine drinkers to some of the fantastic and exciting wines from producers that Erin and I have discovered through our work and travels. There’s a whole world of wine out there, and we can’t wait to explore it with you!
Juniper Estate lies in Wilyabrup, the heart of the remote environmentally pristine Margaret River wine-growing area in the south-west corner of Australia, approximately 270km south of the state capital, Perth. Wilyabrup has established itself since the late 1960s as the most successful sub-region of Margaret River, particularly for red wines. When the vineyard was planted in 1973 (under its original guise of Wright’s Wines), it was one of only six Margaret River wine producers, the others being Vasse Felix, Cape Mentelle, Cullen, Moss Wood and Woodlands. Today the region boasts in excess of 200 vineyards.
Juniper was established by the late Roger Hill and his wife Gillian Anderson with the intention of producing wines which rank among the best to come from Wilyabrup and beyond. Its wines are true to the style of the Margaret River region, showing depth, finesse, and elegance, with careful use of oak providing added complexity.
With winemaker Mark Messenger at the helm, Juniper Estate has achieved great success, accumulating multiple trophies and growing recognition for being a top-quality boutique producer.
Higher Plane is a family owned vineyard that was established in 1996 with the vision to create handcrafted, precise wines, representing a genuine expression of their origin. The vineyard is in the pristine southern Forest Grove sub-region of Margaret River where the influence of the Southern Ocean is the greatest.
Undulating hills and valleys, having both north and south facing slopes, along with spring-fed watercourses, create an ideal environment for site-specific planting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc and other varieties. Site and varietal selection, planting and vineyard management have all been to the highest standard.
Higher Plane was acquired by the present owner, who also owns Juniper Estate, in late 2006.
With the first vines planted in 1897, Lagarde is one of the oldest wineries in the Mendoza region with Malbec vines that are over 100 years old. With only two owning families in its history, Lagarde was acquired by the Pescarmona family in 1969. Today the winery is run by sisters Sofia and Lucila Pescarmona, the third generation of the winemaking family.
Under the ownership of the Pescarmona family, Lagarde has focused on defining its particular style of wines. Striving to innovate, Lagarde was the first Latin American producer to plant non-traditional varieties such as Viognier and Moscato Bianco, adding to its unique style. Under the direction of Juan Roby, who has been the winemaker for Lagarde since 1999, Lagarde has been producing high-quality wines from its estate owned vineyards in the Llujan de Cuyo sub-region of Mendoza. The wines show exceptional terroir character and reflect Lagarde’s commitment to the land and its people.
Matetic Vineyards was established in 1999 by the Matetic family, who had a mission to create authentic wines with character and a sense of place, produced under processes that respect the environment. The vision of Matetic is to be an innovative and leading winery producing high-quality wines; and to be at the vanguard of a 100% sustainable, long-term production that is respectful of the environment and leaves a legacy for future generations.
Confident in the remarkable conditions of the Rosario Valley offered by the Pacific Ocean’s influence and the ancient granitic soils, Matetic was amongst the first to plant Syrah in this unique, cool-climate location. Since then, Matetic has aspired to be one of the best cool-climate wineries in Chile, focusing on quality and excellence, and crafting wines that show the potential of coastal Chile as a wine region. All of this has been achieved while practicing biodynamic and organic agriculture, to preserve and respect the land and environment from which the wines are produced.
Visit the Wanderlust Wines website to view more information and purchase from the vast collection of imported wines www.wanderlustwines.co.nz.