Fans of the laid-back charm and excellent fare of Point Chevalier restaurant Ambler will be pleased to learn its owners have brought their assured sensibility downtown with a new addition to their hospitality offering.
Named Wander, the cafe, bistro and wine bar occupies a light-filled, high-ceilinged space in Wynyard Quarter, an ever-evolving and expanding area that owners Matt Gosset and Julien Albe are pleased to now be a part of. The 90-seat all-day eatery is the slightly more polished, cosmopolitan sister to Ambler, with its interiors echoing that of the Pt Chev neighbourhood restaurant — albeit with larger windows and extensive outdoor seating to harness the sun-drenched location.
The menu, too, is familiar at first glance; however on closer inspection it has been designed by chef and co-owner Albe to encompass additions appropriate for the venue’s proximity to Auckland Fish Market and the ocean.
Hinging on the restaurateurs’ sought-after style of fresh, seasonal fare with a French twist, diners will find a comprehensive brunch menu available until 3pm, and a bistro menu served from 11am until late. We’d happily start any day with the smoked Trevally omelette, each bite a tasty combination of creamy eggs and bocconcini, subtly salty smoked fish, juicy tomatoes and piquant picked onions, finished with a dollop of herby freshness from the chimichurri.
The bistro menu comprises a substantial offering of main dishes, spanning the likes of oysters, ‘soupe du jour’ and cauliflower tabbouleh to a Wagyu beef burger, chicken cordon bleu and Hawke’s Bay lamb loin. We found the lamb to be exquisitely tender, served with a creamy celeriac mash, goats cheese and sweet roasted beetroot, toasted walnuts adding a moreish crunch and a sprinkling of dukkah a hint of warm spice.
It’s not all sit-down fare, with a selection of baked goods like scones (ever-popular at Ambler) brioche, croissants and muffins, as well as filled baguettes and sandwiches all on offer for those needing lunch on the go.
Dishes that go well with a wine or beer from the considered drinks list are not an afterthought, either — the seafood platter is especially impressive, arriving with a selection of South Island clams cooked in a delicious sauce, natural Te Matuku oysters, house-smoked trevally rillets, cured salmon gravlax, battered pieces of gurnard and tartare sauce.
Open seven days, and sure to be humming come the long, languid days of summer, we recommend striding purposefully into Wander next time you’re in Wynyard Quarter.
Ben Bayly keeps himself somewhat under the radar. Known for creating versatile menus that balance international influences with local flavours, Bayly’s particular style of wholesome cuisine has been honed over years of experience working in Michelin-star kitchens in London and Paris, and immersing himself in the culture of places like Northern Italy.
Not one to forget his roots, Bayly has built a respected name for himself in New Zealand for both the award-winning restaurants he has helmed, and now, the ones he has established himself: The Grounds in Henderson, Aosta in Arrowtown and most recently, Ahi in Commercial Bay. But, despite Bayly’s accolades, his approach is grounded in hard work and celebrating the simple things — friends, family, and creating experiences that are truly fulfilling — which is why his food continues to resonate long after the tables have been cleared.
Restaurants tend to be a risky investment, so running them successfully is all about understanding how the financials actually work. A lot of people can make nice food, but turning that into a commercial reality is another thing. When I was in my 20s, I focused on working in the best restaurants I possibly could. In my 30s I was trying to make a name for myself. And now, in my 40s, it really has become about understanding the ins and outs of how a restaurant operates.
That’s the greatest challenge. You need to know how much you’re spending daily and how much you’re taking daily, because if you’re not able to be nimble around spending, and you leave it too late, the horse will have already bolted. So it’s about constantly making sure you’re not going backwards… and if you are going backwards, doing something about it, fast. It creates an interesting juxtaposition between seeing dollar signs above everything you do and still putting love into your dishes, keeping one eye on the money and one eye on the creative and experiential side. The risk versus reward is not great, which is why you just have to love it.
I’ve had to learn to be good with money. You might be the best chef in the world but when you’re opening your own business you have to be able to find a way of raising the capital to get it off the ground. So you should start as early as you can. So, when you’re working at a restaurant, start figuring out how it makes money. Ask yourself how it can afford to pay your wages? As an employee, be super proactive in helping the restaurant you work for be successful. Learn the prices of everything, from pork belly to chives, to bottles of wine and work out how much that bottle of wine has to be sold for to pay the rent and to pay the staff. And when you start to understand that and you start to run your costs right, and you make your mistakes using other people’s money, you’ll be in a much better position to go out on your own.
If you’re working in a restaurant, and have aspirations of owning your own one day, I’d advise you to walk into your work and pretend you own it. Just walk in the door and say, ‘this is my restaurant’ and approach your work through the lens of an owner. And if you do that for a few years before you open your own place, you’ll be fine. That, combined with working at the best restaurants possible, with the best people possible, who will teach you. If you’re keen to know.
I want to scale up. I’ve never been interested in having a small, 20-seat-type place in a back alley somewhere. That’s not to criticise that, or say there’s a right or wrong way to run a restaurant, but that’s just not what works for me. What I often suggest is for people to think about how to build something where they can create small incomes from multiple places and diversify their income. I’ve got my Italian restaurant down South, I’ve got my family one out West and now I’ve really got my dream restaurant, Ahi, where I feel I can really express myself, so that’s probably enough, for now.
I love the freedom of working for myself. That was the main appeal of owning my own restaurants. I love not having to answer to anyone (to a degree) and having freedom around time and finances. But that does come with its own risks.
I always say to my guys, open your own restaurant, I’ll help you, I’ll teach them what I know because I know that when I’m showing them these things, my restaurant will be in better hands. (Even if it might only be for a short time.)
Looking back, I’m happy with the way my life has played out — no regrets. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be right now than New Zealand. I always thought that I wanted to travel more, but the regrets that I thought I would have as I grew older have dulled, and I’m much more aware that there is actually a silver lining to everything. You can’t sit around wishing you did something. There’s a path for everybody and you just have to follow it. I’m quite a driven person and I really don’t know why. But I am, so I’m always trying to do something.
Success in this industry is 80 percent attitude, 20 percent talent. If you’re a young person and you’re wondering whether this is something you’d be interested in, it’s an amazing career. But you need to have the right attitude. If you do, you’ll go far. It’s like that old saying about eating an elephant. How do you eat it? One bit at a time. You slowly earn things and become better at things, but it’s certainly an industry that requires determination and a bit of courage. I don’t consider myself very successful yet but I am tenacious, hardworking and not afraid of failing, which has helped.
Between age 16 and 30 I was lucky enough to work with some great head chefs who pushed, encouraged, bollocked and inspired me. These days I don’t have to look much further than my wife and kids for inspiration and motivation. I’ve also been working alongside our Executive Chef Mike “The Russian’’ Shatura for 12 years now and we’re still going strong.
I spent 10 years living and breathing the food culture of different countries and cooking their cuisines. It made me ask myself: what is New Zealand food? Kiwis are such well-travelled people (we’re like the Irish) and I think we don’t know the answer to that yet. It’s going to take time. There are a number of chefs and restaurateurs out there doing awesome ‘New Zealand’ food, so I think we’ll be closer to understanding what New Zealand cuisine is in a few years. As more people come back, the landscape of food here will change, especially as the next generation comes through. New Zealand is such a young country and we’ve been heavily influenced by migration (in the last hundred years we’ve grown dramatically in population and diversity) and while we might have hangi and pavlova and lamingtons and custard squares, we don’t really have our own ‘super-dishes’, or distinctly regional dishes. And it’s probably not something we’ll be able to determine for a while now.
Businesses that are brave, kind and have a social conscience are the ones that most impress me. Kōkako coffee is one that comes to mind, led by Mike Murphy who is someone that I’ve only just started to get to know. Now he’s providing the coffee at Ahi. I’ve also recently become involved with a company called Citizen, with similar values again around sustainability and waste and rescuing products and food that would usually end up in landfill.
Both my grandfathers had boats and they would take all us grandkids fishing any chance they could get. From my perspective, if I had the money and the time to have a boat and do the same with my kids and grandkids, then I would consider myself successful.
I love watching shows like Chef’s Table on Netflix, not for the food necessarily but to listen to how the brains of these modern chefs work, how they create, what inspires them and what their eureka moment was.
Being motivated is just in me. I’m not really sure where it comes from but I always need to be busy doing something. Maybe it has something to do with my upbringing? My parents always worked really hard when I was growing up and nothing was taken for granted.
My brain is always “on.” But I love escaping into a podcast. I often find myself listening (selectively) to Joe Rogan, he has some really fascinating people on his show. I also listen to The New York Times podcast and I really love a show called Meateater. He’s a hunter and activist who’s actually all about protecting animals.
Late night snacking is my guilty pleasure. I know it’s bad for me but I love it. If I’m really hungry at night, I’ll always have two eggs, fried in butter and eaten with hot sauce and toasted tortillas. Then I’ll brush my teeth and go back to bed. I probably should just have a protein shake or something, I know that would be better for me… but the eggs taste so much better.
I love serving customers and being involved in the experiences they have at my restaurants. You have to love that process if you want to be successful in this industry. You want to always be striving to exceed customers’ expectations.
New York restaurateur Danny Meyer is someone I really admire. He says that you don’t have to be the best restaurant, you just have to be everyone’s favourite… I like that.
Spectacularly framed by frosted mountains, iridescent lakes and rolling landscapes, Queenstown typifies the raw, wild beauty of the South Island. Arresting and memorable, it’s hardly surprising that this small town nestled in the heart of Central Otago has become one of the most highly-regarded tourist destinations in the world.
Brimming with boutique, luxurious and immersive experiences, Queenstown’s superior culinary landscape is matched only by its unparalleled beauty.
Below we present our definitive guide of where to wine and dine in Queenstown, Arrowtown and its surrounding areas.
Provisions Serving up some of the best homemade treats in the region, Provisions is an iconic morning spot in Arrowtown. Our recommendation: do not go past its freshly-baked sticky buns — the best thing since (excuse the pun) sliced bread.
Vudu Larder Located in the heart of Queenstown with seating overlooking the picturesque Lake Wakatipu, Vudu Larder is a wildly popular spot, with a menu of fresh takeaway or dine-in options. If you’re looking for serenity with your morning cuppa, we recommend getting in early.
Good Day Delivering expertly-brewed Wolf Coffee to-go and a selection of brunchy bites, Good Day is the Arrowtown gem that will get any day off to a flying start. Whetherit’s avocado on toast with homemade dukkah, or smoked andouille sausage with peperonata and a soft egg, this tasty spot has something for everyone.
The Chop Shop Quirky and different, with food that packs a punch, The Chop Shop is tucked away above Arrowtown’s main street. We would call it a hidden treasure, but almost everyone knows how good it is, which makes waiting for a table expected (but worth it).
Yonder The health-focused eatery Queenstown can’t get enough of, Yonder offers wholesome fare to suit every persuasion. Its menu encompasses dishes free from gluten, dairy, nuts, sugar, and animal products and its stone cottage setting offers a cute, cosy atmosphere.
Joe’s Garage While you might have seen various Joe’s Garages dotted around New Zealand, the Queenstown outpost was where it all started. Having quickly built a name for its delicious coffee and hearty, filling food, breakfast at Joe’s never disappoints. And for those hitting the slopes, the bacon and egg buns are also the perfect early morning takeaway option before heading up the mountain.
FOR LARGER APPETITES…
Amisfield Book in for a delicious long lunch or dinner at the acclaimed Amisfield Bistro & Cellar Door — the outpost of one of the largest, single-estate vineyards in Central Otago. Nestled on the shores of Lake Hayes, Amisfield is as renowned for its idyllic backdrop as it is for its pure-tasting pinot noir and hyper-seasonal dishes. It also features an outdoor glasshouse by its exterior fireplace, designed to fit up to six diners for a memorable, al fresco experience under the stars.
Aosta Led by renowned chef Ben Bayly, Aosta combines the culinary philosophies of Italy with the fresh, local fare of Central Otago and Southland. From its intimate setting to the way it executes complex flavours in a simple, unpretentious way, Aosta is a must-visit.
The Sherwood Lauded for its menu that highlights fresh, local ingredients, many foraged from the wider Central Otago region, The Sherwood’s restaurant serves up delicious, hyper-seasonal fare in dishes inspired by the offerings of the land.
Rātā With an interior that emits a neighbourhood bistro vibe, similar to what you might expect to find in Sydney, Rātā by Josh Emett has become one of Queenstown’s premier foodie destinations. Renowned for its slow-cooked food and robust flavours, this is the perfect place for a long lunch or an indulgent dinner.
Fan Tan East meets west at one of Arrowtown’s tastiest eateries. Fan Tan boasts a menu of Asian and New Zealand-Pasifika flavours in a series of fusion-style dishes designed for sharing.
Smithy’s Smoke House What could be better on a crisp winter’s day than sitting near an open fire and indulging in a plate of perfectly cooked, succulent smoked meats? Smithy’s Smoke House (at Millbrook Resort) offers just that. Here, you can enjoy unparalleled al fresco dining under the stars, where tapas and various meat dishes, craft beers, fine wines and whisky are served around roaring fire pits.
La Rumbla Having brought the flavours of sunny Spain to Arrowtown, La Rumbla is a firm favourite among locals. With a menu of tapas-style dishes and European flavours, this is the perfect spot for a relaxed, tasty bite.
Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan Set in the historic ‘Walnut Cottage’ just a few minutes’ drive from Arrowtown, this relaxed eatery is as good for breakfast as it is for lunch or wine tastings. With a menu that showcases only the finest ingredients, sourced from Aotearoa’s top growers, makers and artisan suppliers, expect a line-up of honest, comforting shared plates.
Slow Cuts Delighting dine-in or takeaway punters, this Arrowtown hot-spot is a delicious, recently-expanded eatery where slow-cooked meats, rotisserie chicken, burgers, ribs and other seasonal dishes are delivered by operators renowned for their friendly service and great food.
Jervois Steak House One of the jewels in Nourish Group’s crown, the South Island chapter of Jervois Steak House (JSH), is arguably one of the best restaurants in Queenstown. Offering premium cuts of meat accompanied by soulful sides like truffle mac and cheese and baked candied kumara, JSH is where we keep coming back to for a cosy and delicious dinner.
Taco Medic A divine collision of Kiwi and Mexican cuisine, expect traditional, hand-pressed masa tortillas packed full of salsa. Taco Medic also shines a light on fresh local ingredients and packs a flavoursome punch.
The Lodge Bar From its lakefront position alongside the Rodd & Gunn store, The Lodge Bar exudes the ambience of an elevated mountain cabin. With animal hides strewn over plush, fire-warmed armchairs, this restaurant’s exceptional fare and curated wine and cocktail list makes it the perfect place to relax and take in the view.
WHERE TO DRINK…
Eichardt’s Bar Located in the iconic Eichardt’s Private Hotel is the deliciously cosy Eichardt’s Bar. A Queenstown institution since 1867, Eichardt’s has been serving après ski drinks for well over a hundred years. With its crackling fireplace and large sumptuous sofa, this place is one of the undeniable gems of Queenstown.
Blue Door A hidden gem in the heart of Arrowtown, The Blue Door Bar offers a cosy, intimate setting in which to enjoy an after-dinner tipple or a drink with friends. With comfortable chairs and its roaring log fire, after a long day on the slopes it will be almost impossible to leave.
Fork & Tap From its charming, historic location, Arrowtown’s Fork & Tap serves up an array of craft beers, delicious wine and a menu of tasty bites to match. The perfect spot to mingle with the locals and share stories of the day’s on-piste adventures.
Nest at Kamana Lakehouse Take in the spectacular lake views from the floor-to-ceiling windows that frame Nest’s dining room. Rendered in an art-deco style and offering modern Mediterranean bites alongside an extensive list of Japanese whiskys and local wines, this high-altitude kitchen and bar is the perfect place to enjoy an early-evening drink.
WORTH THE TRIP…
The Cloudy Bay Shed Take a scenic 45-minute drive from the heart of Queenstown into Cromwell and get lost in The Shed by Cloudy Bay, a whimsical cellar door experience. With tasting sessions of Cloudy Bay’s full range of wines alongside private tours of the vineyard, The Shed is the perfect antidote to the busyness of Queenstown and offers an indulgent, relaxing, sensory escape.
Olivers Nestled in Clyde, a historic Central Otago township just over an hour’s drive from Queenstown, Olivers is an elevated eatery in the restored Victoria Store (an iconic landmark of the region), and is renowned for its fresh, produce-driven fare.
Cardrona Distillery Quiet and unassuming, the Cardrona Distillery has a particular type of charm that isn’t easy to put your finger on. Completely family owned, Desiree and husband Ash Whittaker have worked together on the distillery since its inception and, together with their team of experts, have conceived a number of acclaimed drops, including the triumphant creation of a recently-anointed single-malt whisky. Head along to the beautiful distillery and be guided on a tour of the facilities, where you’ll learn about the processes behind each of the hand-distilled, artisan spirits — including milling, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation — an experience that will conclude with a tasting.
The Mountain Kitchen – Minaret Station Located on The Alpine Group’s 50,000 acre high-country station (on which is also a boutique accommodation for overnight stays), The Mountain Kitchen can be booked by those simply wanting to experience this incredible property for an afternoon. Offering a scenic dining experience where locally-sourced ingredients are prepared by resident chefs and accompanied by award-winning wines, lunch at The Mountain Kitchen can be booked for guests of four or more and includes a spectacular scenic helicopter flight from Wanaka or Queenstown.
We’re not going to lie, the moment we bit into one of the tacos from inner-city Mexican spot Mr. Taco – La Taqueria, we considered not sharing any information on its whereabouts so we could keep coming back again and again with less fear of them selling out.
But, the selfish impulse quickly passed as we remembered our civic duty to tell you about some of the best, most authentic Mexican food we’ve had in recent memory.
Located on Federal Street, Mr. Taco was opened in June by Manuel Moreno, who relocated to New Zealand eight years ago from Mexico. Having worked as head chef at Mexican restaurants both in Christchurch and here in Auckland, Moreno decided to go out on his own — and has already built a solid reputation for his incredibly tasty fare and friendly, welcoming service.
With a succinct menu of traditional Mexican favourites, Mr. Taco is a compact operation, perfect for a trio of tacos or a burrito on the go. The tacos are his most popular offering, says Moreno, and after trying them we can see why.
The pastor taco, the most popular at night in Mexico we’re told, comprises ultra-moist pulled pork cooked with achiote paste and a special blend of spices. It’s then topped with a small helping of fresh pineapple, and each taco is served with onion, coriander and salsa of various spice levels. It is incredibly delicious. The beef in the birria taco is, again, extremely tender and almost has a caramelised flavour thanks to the blend of spices it’s cooked with. Carnitas, or a more simple shredded, braised pork, is another crowd favourite.
Mr. Taco caters wonderfully to vegetarians and vegans as well, with jackfruit and cactus tacos — all just as good, we can confirm.
We’re already planning our return trip to try one of Moreno’s burritos or a helping of nachos, and the quesadilla would go down a treat, too. In the next month or so, Moreno is also opening another, slightly bigger, space around the corner on Queen Street which will specialise in traditional breakfast dishes and torta, a type of popular Mexican sandwich.
We’ll look forward to that, but in the meantime all we can say is we’re glad we now know where to find some of the best tacos in Auckland — maybe even New Zealand.
Opening hours: Open 7 days a week from 10am until 8pm on weeknights and 9 or 10pm on Friday and Saturday — or until sold out.
Banish any preconceived notions of a high tea involving dinky sandwiches and clunky multi-tiered stands; Park Hyatt Auckland is here to revitalise the beloved ritual, turning tradition on its head with its inventive and elevated five-course Afternoon Tea.
Taking place in The Living Room’s comfortable, elegant dining space, the Afternoon Tea menu is a culinary collaboration between the Park Hyatt Auckland’s executive pastry chef Callum Liddicoat and sous chef Daniel Gorham.
Diners are invited to embark on a gastronomic journey, with each of the five-courses arriving one at a time on the table so the magic of every dish can be fully enjoyed. Bespoke crockery is then cleverly stacked on the table as each plate is cleared, a nod to the traditional tier without being view-obscuring — a good thing, seeing as The Living Room’s outlook spans the sparkling Viaduct Basin.
The menu will change seasonally, with an additional focus on Mother’s Day and Christmas, and utilises nearly 100 percent locally-supplied ingredients. Currently, the offering kicks off with a savoury morsel of a beetroot-cured salmon and citrus cone. The salmon is cured for 48 hours, and paired with lemon mascarpone, fresh lemon and a blood vein sorrel garnish — something fresh and light to cleanse the palate to start, says chef Gorham. The cone is paired with a refreshing, sparkling tea (you read that right), which is served effervescently cold, adding to the cleansing effect.
The ensuing courses harness both the savoury and the sweet, the collaboration of which Liddicoat says is one of the main focal points for the dining experience. The Dulcey is a highlight, comprising a Valrhona chocolate mousse with notes of butter and toast, atop of which rests a tart blackcurrant chantilly; as is the prosciutto bruschetta, utilising meat from A Lady Butcher’s Hannah Miller, paired with a tart apple chutney and topped with a creamy quail egg.
Each pastry or morsel is exquisitely well-considered, with playful nods to nostalgia and modernity. Of course, with Liddicoat being an Australian chef in New Zealand, there’s a lamington. This one is more deluxe than any lamington we’ve ever tried, with six layers of coconut sponge interspersed with raspberry jelly and milk chocolate ganache, dipped in coconut chocolate.
The tea selection is extensive, with several loose leaf and botanical infusions from Webster’s Tea, Forage + Bloom and The Tea Curator, as is the champagne list, with Eighthirty coffee also on offer.
Anyone with dietary requirements will be pleased to know they can be catered for upon advance request, with vegetarian and even vegan tweaks able to be made, and The Living Room also serves an a la carte breakfast and lunch menu throughout the day.
But, it’s the Afternoon Tea that’s got us hooked. Having been in the industry for 20 years, and seeing high tea done the same way every time, Liddicoat says it’s high time it was given an update.
Whether you want to make a special event like Mother’s Day or a baby or bridal shower even more memorable, or you’re just in the mood to treat yourself, Park Hyatt Auckland’s Afternoon Tea is sure to delight.
The Living Room
Park Hyatt Auckland
99 Halsey Street
Having to forgo certain luxuries that might prove impractical when confronted with children can be a bitter pill to swallow. Of course, there are situations in which the ideas of family life and luxury simply cannot co-exist. You wouldn’t, for example, wear a rotation of fine silk shirts when nursing a newborn; or put a cream daybed in a toddler’s room. But in this Sydney home, the architects at Fox Johnson and designers at Alwill Interiors set out to strike the right balance for clients who had kids and pets but who also wanted their living spaces to feel sumptuous and sophisticated.
Taking a grounded approach to glamour, the team at Alwill started with a pared-back base palette, over which they laid a cocktail of textures — sandstone, timber, bronze and marble — before adding pops of colour through artworks and carefully considered furnishings. They worked with quality materials that felt high-end but that also proved sturdy and durable when facing the demands of a young family.
One of the most appealing aspects of this home is the space it affords its occupants. The layout comprises a clear division of zones, meaning that when one member of the family needs some time to themselves, they can find it in a quiet, upstairs bedroom, or on either side of the sandstone wall that divides the living room from the dining room and kitchen. And with plenty of windows that look over Mosman Bay, there is an inherent connection between the house and its sprawling, natural surrounds.
From the entranceway — designed as a kind of gallery — to the kitchen, with its spectacularly-curved Calacatta marble and oak island, to the living room, where an airy feeling is achieved by sliding cavity doors that open to a terrace, and the furniture is modern but not overly ‘trendy,’ the finished effect of this home proves how a considered application of materials and a meticulous attention to detail can cultivate a family-friendly atmosphere while still affording the adults some creature comforts. This is particularly true in the home’s hidden wine cellar, where the collection is stored in a perfectly-appointed, terracotta-tiled room.
This year, of all years, we can say with conviction we’ve never been so happy to see the back of winter. With warmer, brighter days on the horizon, the whole city seems to be getting into the spring spirit.
Commercial Bay has embraced this seasonal transition wholeheartedly, with a verdant installation transforming the main walkway of the centre and the Spring Market Weekend taking place on the 26th and 27th of September.
Giving customers an opportunity to shop exclusive offers from over 20 retail stores in the precinct, the Spring Market Weekend sees enticing offers from several of our favourite designers and stores including Superette, Yu Mei, Ecoya and Elle + Riley.
Shoppers will entertained by banging brass band Auckland City Scoundrels and will have the chance to spin the winning wheel for cash prizes, all in the spirit of a spring carnival.
Spring Market Weekend, Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th September.
As anyone who would consider themselves a wine aficionado knows, when you choose a bottle to buy or drink, you are not just investing in the liquid inside the glass.
The finished product is the result of an elaborate journey from grape to bottle, involving what is often decades spent honing the craft of winemaking. Combining expert and nuanced knowledge of viticulture with fermentation and bottling techniques, and weathering the fickle essence of a vocation so reliant on the seasons and the generosity of nature, it warrants more than a moment of appreciation for the delicious and multi-faceted beverage.
Church Road embodies this rich possibility of the vine, with its storied heritage as one of New Zealand’s oldest wineries. Founded in 1897 on the same site where it still stands today, Church Road is widely considered to have pioneered the Hawke’s Bay wine industry, and is also renowned for being the first in New Zealand to craft exceptional quality Bordeaux-style red wine.
This is thanks to the late Tom McDonald, who is regarded as a pioneer of modern winemaking in New Zealand, and who worked as a legendary winemaker at the helm of Church Road for over 50 years during the 20th century.
Paying homage to McDonald’s lasting legacy, Church Road TOM is the apex of the winery’s offering. Only produced when an outstanding vintage is within reach, Church Road TOM represents the pinnacle of New Zealand wine, and in turn reflects the exceptional Hawke’s Bay terroir, considered viticulture and masterful winemaking, to deliver great depth and a powerful palate.
With 123 years of heritage, Church Road’s viticultural team has an enviable understanding of the region. Blessed with a combination of soils and climate that are perfect for high quality wine-growing, they rejoice in working with exceptional quality fruit that requires very little interference in the winery.
Church Road is celebrating a milestone this year, with this September marking 25 years of iconic TOM winemaking. To honour the occasion, the winery has released the 2016 TOM Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2019 TOM Chardonnay.
Both exceptional wines, the TOM Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon deviates away from what is usually a more Cabernet-influenced wine thanks to the 2016 Hawke’s Bay vintage conditions creating beautiful Merlot grapes, calling for a change in blend. A new taste profile of ripe black plum and berry fruit, and the earthy complexity typical of great Merlot is now experienced across the full length of the palate.
Hand-harvested, the 2019 Church Road TOM Chardonnay is aged for 18 months, culminating in a spectacular drop. Both wild and malolactic fermentation results in a full-bodied Chardonnay that sings with complexity and textural interest, while retaining good balance.
“Our job as winemakers is to simply showcase in the best possible light, the inherent quality of the fruit, rather than trying to mould the wine into a different form,” says chief winemaker Chris Scott. “To achieve this, we work with what we have in the most natural way possible.”
There are myriad reasons why Church Road belongs in any savvy sipper’s collection, with the exciting new TOM release at the top of our list.
While we love luxuriating in an impressive work of fiction, nothing quite beats the appeal of the real. Settle in to learn a little about culture, celebrity or the human psyche from these excellent documentary films and series.
My Octopus Teacher Wholesome and heartwarming, this nature documentary follows South African filmmaker Craig Foster for the best part of a year as he forges a connection with a wild octopus. Delightful yet emotional, this unexpected friendship is sure to stay with you long after the credits roll.
This is Paris Love her or hate her, there’s no denying the phenomenon that is Paris Hilton. The polarising figure, who arguably formed the blueprint for today’s celebrity culture, is the subject of this Youtube documentary which peeks behind the curtain to discover the person behind the persona.
The Social Dilemma Ever feel like you’re spending too much time on your phone? Prepare for newdocu-drama The Social Dilemma to break down exactly why we’re addicted to the likes, clicks and shares on social media — and what it’s doing to society as we know it.
Helmut Newton: The Badand The Beautiful Diving into the work of this iconoclastic photographer, Gero von Bohem’s film documents Helmut Newton’s indelible signature of powerful (often nude) women and subversive, erotic symbolism, to offer a vivid picture of his uncompromising oeuvre.
Disclosure An unprecedented look into trans representation in television and film, this documentary shines a stark light on the way Hollywood both reflects and perpetuates our deep anxieties around traditional gender roles and asks us to re-examine our assumptions.
The Painter and The Thief After two pieces by a young Czech painter are stolen from her exhibition, she takes it upon herself to track down the thieves. After finding one of them and offering to paint his portrait, an unexpected friendship is formed. Stranger than fiction, this film is like an offbeat fairytale for the modern age.
Bloody Nose Empty Pockets What presents itself as a documentary about the last night of a shabby bar on the fringes of Las Vegas, that’s rarely glimpsed by tourists, was actually filmed New Orleans by a cast of mostly non-professional actors. Produced by Turner Ross and Bill Ross IV, the film has received acclaimed for its snapshot of a dark side of life that is both entertaining and moving.
Immigration Nation This Netflix-produced, six-part series delves into immigration under the Trump administration and takes a hard look at the cruelty with which a number of the cases have been handled. Offering unfettered access to the agencies involved and to the people they have working for them, this confronting series is an educational watch, and is a particularly important one for now.
From the first moment we came across Kate Forsythe’s three dimensional art pieces, we’ve been enamoured with their satisfying tactility. Working under the moniker Studio Ro, the Auckland-based artist and graphic designer creates plaster pieces, handmade to order, that span the realm of both painting and sculpture. With an emphasis on light play and organic forms, and an impressive sense of scale, the carved curves create intriguing shadows without the use of paint. Here, Forsythe shares a little more behind her process.
Can you tell me a bit about your background prior to starting your Studio Ro practice? I’ve been painting and drawing for as long as I can remember. After graduating with a degree in fine arts, I started as a graphic designer and have continued for the past seven years. I started to miss the tactility and experimentation of the fine art process, leading me to start Studio Ro while maintaining my career in design.
When and how did you get into the sculptures that you make now? The idea behind Studio Ro started about two years ago but it has taken me a while to feel confident enough to start. I had to learn to trust that people would love my pieces as much as I love creating them. I believe we all should be constantly growing and evolving as individuals and Studio Ro evolved from my need to escape from the surrounding chaos. It’s become my way of slowing down my immediate environment, creating a sense of peace and balance.
How would you describe your work? An exploration into the boundaries between painting and sculpture. My work seeks to find beauty in imperfection and simplicity though organic, considered forms and textures that play with the qualities of light and the absence of it.
What is the process for creating one of your pieces? It’s a fluid process, full of hours of experimentation. Each piece is one of a kind, with its own imperfect textures and markings. The process is slow and methodical, layering each shape with plaster — continuously moulding, sanding and painting until I am happy with its final form.
How long does it take you to make each one of your pieces? Each of my pieces is made to order and takes 6—8 weeks to create.
What do you enjoy about it? The simplicity. In a world full of complications, I wanted to create something inherently simple that instils a sense of stillness and calm. We all have a tendency to add more, but I wanted to be able to remove almost everything and let the minimalism of the final form speak for itself.
The large scale of your artworks is impressive. Is their size a purposeful design choice? Yes, as they are minimal pieces the forms and textures feel almost enveloping at a large scale, creating an elevated sense of stillness.
What are some of your key influences? I am continuously influenced by technique, materials and textures. When I explore other artists and their practices, I am inspired by their processes and how they complement the final outcomes. The way I have come to develop texture is based on the gestural movements of Picasso’s 1949 light drawings. I try to look beyond art at face value.
And who or what inspires you in general? I find it hard to pinpoint where my inspiration comes from. I explore everything from photography and design to sculptures and paintings, even psychology and everyday experiences can influence me in some way.
What are some aesthetic or design qualities that you value? Experimentation, simplicity and imperfection.