Wine Professionals form a club

The NZSWP Founding Committee from L-R: Celia Hay, Karen Fistonich, Cameron Douglas MS, Stephen Wong MW.

The NZSWP Founding Committee from L-R: Celia Hay, Karen Fistonich, Cameron Douglas MS, Stephen Wong MW. (Photo: NZSWP)

The New Zealand Sommeliers and Wine Professionals Association (NZSWP) was officially launched on March 7 this year. NZSWP is registered as an incorporated society and is not for profit.

Its primary goal is to create a community of people from around New Zealand working with wine, beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), wine and beverage sales, wine and beverage marketing within the sectors of hospitality, wine, wine tourism, wine education, wine marketing and sales and also to attract enthusiasts who share the values of the Association.

Founding committee members of NZSWP are Cameron Douglas MS (patron), Celia Hay (chair), Karen Fistonich, Stephen Wong MW (Wellington), Mathew Judd (Hawkes Bay) Michael Darby (Canterbury) and Claudio Heye (Central Otago).

I was pleased to be able to support this fledgeling organisation by spending just $75 to become a member. A recent tasting of regional chardonnays (free to members) hosted by Villa Maria and presented by their chief winemaker, Nick Picone, was worth the price of my membership (see my article about the tasting here). In addition to tasting ten top chardonnays and learning much about regional styles, the tasting provided an opportunity to network with many of Auckland’s leading sommeliers and other wine professionals.

New Zealand School of Food & Wine (NZSFW) owner, Celia Hay, explained that they plan to join the Association of Sommeliers International (ASI), which has a membership of 52 countries, and were in the process of developing ways in which the NZSWP can work closely with wine producers in New Zealand through a system of tiered sponsorship being developed for 2017. The NZSFW runs the annual NZ Sommelier and Junior Sommelier competitions.

This organisation deserves the support of local wineries and should provide plenty of promotional opportunities. Check out their website and become a member now.

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