Extraordinary.

That’s how I’d describe the efforts of the generous group of volunteers who worked tirelessly across three days to ensure that the Nelson wine region was firmly positioned on the NZ wine map for the 55 Delegates that New Zealand Wine (NZW) brought out from 12 countries for the Aromatics Symposium. Because of the extraordinary efforts of this group of volunteers Nelson was able to showcase our region not only for our excellence in wine-making but also as a region of producers who care for each other and for the continued success of our wine regions future. The lead-up to the symposium threw many obstacles in our way, with the full force of mother nature the previous weekend leaving Rabbit Island bruised and battered, the ferry not going and the oyster beds damaged. Our planned itinerary of a raw bar on Rabbit Island was quickly looking like a deep-fried bar on the estuary mud at low-tide. But thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our partners from Kiwa Oysters, a special harvest just two days before the event meant that we could treat our international guests to oyster shucking on the banks of the Tasman Bay following a User Pays Tasting on the sands of Mapua beach in the shade of a canvas tipi. And mother nature didn’t disappoint this time, with three days of glorious sunshine that Nelson is renowned for. Having eaten oysters, washed down with Tutu cider and a swim in the estuary (and for some, a jump off the Mapua wharf), the Delegates enjoyed an excellent menu served by Chef Daniel Monopoli and his team from the Boatshed at the Welcome Dinner. The Aromatics Masterclass, held in the cellar of Mahana on day two, was NZW’s opportunity to showcase New Zealands best Aromatics and Wine Nelsons opportunity to showcase our excellent hosting skills. The team of volunteers, affectionately known as the “stripes” because of the team nautical striped tee-shirt, tirelessly and always with smiles on their faces, poured over 36 wines, polished more than 2,500 glasses, unloaded, loaded and then unloaded again more than 30 wine barrels and emptied hundreds of spittoons. Following a successful day at the Masterclass, Delegates were treated to an excellent dinner at Hopgoods, with delicious food and excellent service. On day three Wine Nelson was able to truly shine, with our own Regional Tasting held at Neudorf in the relaxed environment of their gardens, the pool and under the canopy of the Cellar Door trees, where the Delegates tasted 30 local wines and were treated to a long lunch prepared by the talented Kristin Harrison before their flight to Wellington to attend the Pinot event.

Someone famous once said “success does not lie in results but in efforts; being the best is not so important, doing the best is all that matters.” Well, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of all of the volunteers for the Aromatics Symposium, we are being and doing the best. Thank you Nelson, you really did shine.

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