Archive for the ‘Otago Wines’ Category

18 July 2017


Family Dinner 1

Here’s to my parents – “Thanks for raising me – I really appreciate it!”

Life wasn’t that tough for me but then again I knew better than to ask for too much. Christmas was one gift – but always something I wanted – a kitten, a Barbie doll… Sunday dinner was always a family gathering around a large oak table neatly covered in pressed white linen. We would all help prepare and share a hearty meal of meat, potatoes and vegetables with pudding to follow – Sometimes a small glass of sherry, but mostly on special occasions. In the background the radiogram would play soft music and on occasion we would listen to The Clitheroe Kid and laugh as we could only imagine the cheeky schoolboy’s antics. Simple days and fond memories!

The idea of a family dinner has always been important – being together and enjoying each other’s company through good food, good drink (nowadays wine), good conversation and laughter – it feeds us emotionally and creates a connectedness. Apart from bringing us together, a family meal is an enjoyable experience that can instil great values in our children – a special time when stories are shared and most of all, when treasured memories are made.

So what’s at the very heart of Archangel – well of course it’s family!

Here’s one of my family’s favourite meals – it’s simple to make and simply delicious!


2kg fillet beef
1/2cup of softened butter
4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
Salt & pepper
Fresh mushrooms
1 bouillon beef OXO cube
1 cup of Archangel Pinot Noir

Ice fillet of beef with butter, garlic, salt & pepper. Crumble beef OXO cube into the wine wine and set aside. Cook the meat in a moderate oven at 190 – 200 degrees celsius for approximately 50 minutes. After 30 minutes place mushrooms over the meat and baste in red wine with OXO cube. Continue to baste wine over meat regularly (every 5 minutes). Take out of the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

Serve with your favourite vegetables and glass of Archangel Pinot Noir.

Enjoy with your family!

1 January 2015

A Perfect Celebration

They say that when you’ve found the perfect setting it makes way for the perfect celebration and that’s what Zin found when he celebrated his birthday with friends at Archangel Vineyard.

Not a cloud in the sky, the group of friends began their afternoon with a tasting of award-winning Archangel wines – what better way to taste wine than in the place where they were grown! A delicious Afternoon Tea followed – platters of dainty sandwiches and handmade cakes.

With the vines making an ideal backdrop, Zin and his friends were able to sit back, relax and enjoy good wine, good food and good friendship in the most perfect setting – making this special occasion one to remember.

7 May 2014

Through Artist’s Eyes

“What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.”

John Updike

These days I approach life with a sense of creative purpose. I am both a vigneron (someone who cultivates a vineyard for winemaking) and an artist – I cannot separate the two. As my life becomes more entrenched in the world of wine I realise that to stand out and be noticed, creativity is not something you do intermittently – instead, creativity becomes a way of life.

Like most artists (and winemakers) I like to express myself through my work. For me, the vineyard offers simple wonder and gratitude – a ‘timelessness’ that tells our story – it is this story that I weave through my art and wine.

The commonalities of art and wine are apparent – both engage our senses, evoking emotional if not mystical experiences. So what happens when you pair art with wine – well, not only is it a memorable experience, it becomes a portal to the aesthetic. I was recently invited to pair my art and wine at a degustation ‘Long Lunch’ at the Nice Hotel and Table Restaurant in New Plymouth. I would like to thank Terry, his creative chefs and staff for an absolutely memorable day. To our guests and lovers of wine, art and all things good – thank you, for your enthusiasm, your conversation and your laughter. It made me realise that art and wine together, can offer a greater range of enjoyment and appreciation – it can leave us feeling truly connected, but most of all, it is fun!

Archangel Vineyard – Where our wine is born and where the art series ‘Moments’ was inspired. Enjoy!

18 February 2014

Ladies Day Picnic – Vintage Style

Turning someone’s special day into a magical one is something we like to do at Archangel. Recently, we received this email request:

I am trying to organise a lovely, memorable day for my best friend Tracey and 4 of her closest friends before her wedding. She is not keen on a hens doo, but a lover of all things wine and food.

I am looking for a beautiful scene, that is low key, private and somewhere we can drink good wine over good conversation! I want to create a picnic – think blankets, cushions, lanterns etc. Somewhere we can hang out privately and drink wine with perhaps a cheese platter and if it’s OK also can you cater with finger food (sweets, lollipops, cupcakes etc.).”


Of course we said yes. To ensure the day would be extra special and become a wonderful lasting memory for Tracey and her friends, we suggested a picnic with a vintage styled theme at Archangel Vineyard.

Picnic day arrived. The sun was shining, the vintage scene was set, the picnic fair looked delightful and of course the Archangel wine chilled, ready to be poured.

It was a perfect setting for a very special Ladies Day Picnic – Vintage Style!

9 November 2013

The Naming of a New Wine

“It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars”
Richard Evans

One and a half winters in a Siberian labour camp taught Halina two things – resilience and hope. She knew that living in fear was wasted energy. For Halina and her family to survive, she would need strength of character and a belief that there was a better future ahead of her.

As a child, Halina enjoyed riding with her father on the cavalry horses. She was fascinated by the mutual respect and trust she saw between horse and rider. Every opportunity she could find, Halina would be with the horses – keeping the stables tidy and the horses groomed and fed. She liked the physical work and preferred this to household chores.  The more time she spent with the horses the more she understood them and they her. She was developing her father’s ‘horse sense’ and it was this, that would help her deal with life in the most practical way, but more importantly, it gave her the courage to deal with some of the adversities that lay ahead.

It was no wonder that when she arrived at the labour camp in Arkhangel’sk she was put to work, minding the farm animals for the Russian soldiers. Even though she had to work long hours, she didn’t complain. She would tend to the nutritional needs of the animals and the cows would need to be milked.

The harsh Siberian winter was taking its toll. With little food, Halina’s younger sisters were beginning to show signs of malnutrition.  Tending to the animals on a daily basis gave Halina the perfect opportunity to sneak away small containers of milk back to her mother. The Russian soldiers would never notice and it would allow her mother to make a warm soup of milk and bread to keep Lucia and Sabina nourished. Unfortunately for Halina, her resourcefulness was short lived. Caught red handed by a Russian officer, Halina was lucky to have got away with no more than a reprimand. Instead of farm work, she was sent to work in the forests to log trees. She didn’t mind – the dense, dark spaces were filled with the scent of pine and Halina knew that one-day, the sun would shine!


Archangel Halina Riesling 2012
My mother had a spirit that no one could tame. She loved nature and animals, story telling and the stranger. She loved the snowflake on her face and the sun on her back. She loved a gathering of family and friends, eating cake and all things sweet. She had a natural beauty and was truly unique. The name ‘Halina’ means ‘sun-ray’.

The inaugural Archangel Halina Riesling 2012 is a medium sweet style wine that has been crafted from grapes hand-picked from vines that sit on the sun-drenched terraces of the Archangel vineyard. Naming this wine ‘Halina’ seems a fitting tribute. Halina would have liked it a lot!

26 October 2011

If Walls Could Talk…

With a little determination, a little backbone and a little luck, I’m about to conduct my first ever wine tasting. “So, what are we tasting today” asks the professor (donned in knee length shorts). “Archangel 2008 Pinot Noir” I nervously reply. “Yes, just one bottle to show, and yes, just bottled last month” I add. They sniff, they sip, they swirl and sniff again – silence. Suddenly, I’m overcome with a heavy feeling of dread inside my stomach. What was I thinking of? I’m doing a wine tasting with, not only one wine, but one very youthful bottle of wine and, I’m presenting this wine to perhaps, the two most enthusiastic wine connoisseurs at Oxford University. The weight inside my stomach slowly turns to panic and I cannot bear the silence any longer. I blurt out, “so, what do you think?” The seated professor with his shoulder length, silver hair (and sideburns to match) looks at me, nods and smiles – “good” he says, “yes , very good!” This was three years ago.

Now, if these oak paneled walls could talk, what secrets would they reveal, I wondered? A moment of fleeting thoughts are distracted, as the butler places a dish of delicately sliced marinated beef carpaccio in front of me. He pours a generous amount of Archangel 2008 Pinot Noir into my glass. The food is delicious, the wine tasting better than I can ever remember… What a great room this is; the Senior Common Room, where many a famous Oxonian once wined and dined. I wonder…how many bottles of Archangel 2008 and 2009 Pinot Noir do they have left in the wine cellars beneath the college halls? The professor (donned in knee length shorts) and the professor with his shoulder length, silver hair (and sideburns to match), raise their glasses and turn to me. They nod, they smile and together they say “yes, very, very good.”

So what’s my point here? Well, I don’t have marketing skills, but what I do have is better – passion, determination and a strong belief. A long time ago I had a vision; that Archangel wine would one day be at home at Oxford University. After all, what better place than in the college cellars for a wine to mature and age gracefully, and perhaps, if it be possible, to draw wisdom and inspiration from her room mates Chateau Margaux and Chateau Lafite. To one day be placed on tables where famous Oxonians once sat. To share the journey, the story with the future leaders of this world. Yes, it may have taken effort, spirit and determination, but it was worth it. Today, I’d like to thank my new friends – the professor (donned in knee length shorts) and the professor with shoulder length, silver hair (with sideburns to match) – Yes, I’d like to thank you for your vision, your faith and your generousity towards Archangel.

11 July 2011

DECANTER & Central Otago Pinot Noir

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow......

Dear Wine Friends
Firstly, my apologies for the lack of posts of late – I could offer 101 excuses, but I won’t. Please forgive my tardiness.

Today I awoke to a blanket of snow covering the landscape, creating a magical winter wonderland. Yes, after weeks of waiting, the snow has finally arrived in my home town of Wanaka. The ski bunnies are happy, which in turn makes the locals happy. For those that are not familiar with Wanaka – it is a small resort town located just north of the 45th parallel in Central Otago in the South Island of New Zealand. Nestled within a majestic backdrop of rugged mountains, Wanaka sits at the southern end of Lake Wanaka (New Zealand’s fourth largest lake). It is the gateway to the Mount Aspiring National Park and an array of exciting experiences. You can ski down mountains (or across); hunt for deer, wild pig or chamois (a kind of mountain goat/antelope); fly-fish for trout (brown and rainbow); fly over glaciers or jump out of planes (preferably with a parachute); you can hike up mountains or trek the terrain on horseback or mountain-bike. From boating adventures to water sports, we have experiences to suit all. Our trendy cafés and restaurants offer sumptuous cuisine created from locally produced food – and as for the wine, Central Otago can proudly boast some of the finest Pinot Noir (and white varieties) in the world. Now just to support the latter, I thought I’d share some news – at the recent Decanter World Wine Awards 2011(one the world’s most prestigious Wine Shows) Central Otago Pinot Noir ran ‘HOT’. Out of the 26 New Zealand Pinot Noirs that won Silver or above, 15 were awarded to Pinot Noir from Central Otago. Not a bad effort from the Central Otago wine producers. Of course I’m also proud to say that our Archangel Pinot Noir 2009 (which incidentally is only our second vintage) was awarded a SILVER. So naturally we are thrilled!

So, back to Wanaka and Central Otago – in case you decide to visit us, I thought I’d share a few of my ‘Hot Picks’ (in no particular order) which includes places to stay, places to eat and ‘must do’ experiences. Of course, there are numerous others which you can find on

* Aoturoa Villa: – luxury and comfort in a boutique villa with the warmest of hospitality.
* Relishes Café: on Wanaka lake front – great food, great wine and the friendliest of staff.
* Cardona Ski field: – A great way to get your natural high – safe for beginners and with challenging ski runs for the more adventurous.
* Wanaka Skydiving: – Highly recommended by my son (sorry I’m too chicken) and perhaps not if you suffer heart problems!
* Ridgeline Wine Tours: – Relax and enjoy the wine. Let your host introduce you to some of Central Otago’s little gems.
* Wellwood Gallery and Archangel Wine Tasting Room: A sensual Wine and Wood Experience in a unique gallery setting.
* Puzzling World: – Quirky and fun, no matter how old you are!
* Rob Roy Track: Nature at its purest! Glaciers, waterfalls, alpine flora and fauna, etc,etc….simply stunning!

10 February 2011

Romancing the Pinot Noir

Three handsome Australian men, Central Otago Pinot Noir and sumptuous cuisine – what more could a girl ask for? This was Feast Restaurant in Cromwell just a week ago – a dinner hosted by Central Otago Winegrowers for three visitors from Melbourne. Our special guests for the evening were Ben Edwards, Chris Crawford and Dan Sims – sommeliers, matchmakers, composers of the finest wine and exquisite cuisine. They came to share their passion – their new wine venture, Pinot Unearthed.

Their charm and infectious enthusiasm would captivate any audience. Somewhat smitten by these handsome young men, I listened intently as Ben spoke of their wine journey and how all three had fallen passionately in love – with Pinot Noir that is. It was going to be an interesting evening given the vast number of Pinot Noirs sitting on the table.

So what is it about Pinot Noir that arouses such strong emotions? This fickle grape variety with its temperamental nature, often described as the ‘heartbreak’ grape – and can see the viticulturist, winemaker (not to mention the vineyard owner) delve into the depths of despair. But they often say that nothing worthwhile is easy and Pinot Noir is one of these things. At the Pinot Noir Celebration (27-29 Jan 2011), guests and enthusiasts from as far a way as Sweden and Scotland descended into the resort town of Queenstown to embrace all things Pinot Noir. Wine lovers seduced, waxing lyrical about this elusive grape variety. Pinot Noir more than any other wine, has the power to seduce and arouse the senses in a physical, emotional and spiritual way. With the alluring notes of “earthy, truffle, gamey”, Pinot Noir’s aromas have been likened to human pheromones – those that stimulate sexual attraction.

So it’s no wonder that so many of us have been captivated by this enchanting wine variety with its rather capricious personality. Like Ben, Chris and Dan (the three sommeliers), there will be many others that will follow a similar path – a journey in search of the “holy grail of wine” that we call Pinot Noir. Whether it’s the romance ‘of the wine’ or ‘in the wine’, for me it doesn’t really matter – With Valentines Day just around the corner I know I will be kissed by an angel – Archangel Pinot Noir that is – a memorable way to celebrate this romantic occasion!

20 December 2010

Angel Bread, Borscht and Pinot Noir

Christmas is a magical time. It’s a time when people like to follow tradition. It’s a time for giving and sharing, a time when family and friends come together to celebrate with food, wine and song. For me Christmas Eve or ‘Wigilia’ (vi’gilja) is a special time – a Polish tradition that celebrates the onset of Christmas with a vigil supper. A twelve course meal that traditionally begins when the first star appears in the sky. Childhood memories come flooding back of large family gatherings; the ritual of dressing the tree to Christmas carols; the pure white linen cloth draped over the table, with a few pieces of straw beneath the cloth, to signify Christ’s birth in a manger. The extra place set at the table, just in case an unexpected stranger comes knocking at the door – a mark of true Polish hospitality. The sharing of ‘Oplatek’ or Angel Bread before the meal begins – a symbol of love, unity and forgiveness. Borscht and the countless meatless dishes. The exchanging and of course, the excitement of opening of gifts.

In essence I still follow these traditions, although I don’t wait for the first star to appear in the sky – a little difficult when you live in New Zealand and Christmas Eve falls on one the year’s longest days. I confess to my borscht being made on beef stock but still with the addition of wild porcini mushrooms that make this soup an earthy delight. I will drink Archangel Pinot Noir and may even add some to the soup (my mother-in-law swears this will create a soup that will be fit for a king) – we’ll see. I’ll reduce the amount of dishes I serve (a necessity for my expanding waistline). I will share the ‘Oplatek’ (Angel Bread) with my family and honour those who are too far away or no longer with us. I’ll set the table with an extra place – just in case. But most of all I will go into Christmas with a sense of gratitude. Knowing that we are all connected in some way and no matter what tradition or belief you follow, I wish you peace and happiness always.