It’s always interesting asking local business operators how they ended up…
For those of you who follow this column regularly you will have noticed I had a little break from writing for a few weeks, but I’m back.
I want to restart with an update on some stunning results Nelson producers have achieved at competitions and awards in the last couple of months, from restaurants to cheese, wine and vegetarian sausages Nelson producers have been shining brightly.
Let’s start with the exceptional news: Hopgood’s & Co are listed at number 6 on the Trip Advisor New Zealand top fine-dining restaurants, Neudorf Vineyards are number 8 on Bob Campbell’s Real Review Top Wineries 2021 list and Seifried Estate have taken out the Champion Sauvignon Blanc trophy at Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2021.
The exciting part about the Hopgood’s placing on this list is that it reflects what people who pay to dine there experience, not judges who visit once or twice and come up with a ranking.
At the end of the day, it is the diners that determine the success of a restaurant, if the food and service aren’t good enough then they won’t return. Diners placing Hopgood’s among New Zealand’s very best restaurants is really important and it is worth noting they are also just a few of places below restaurants that made the world Top 10 fine-dining list.
Seifried Estate have blown away every winery in Marlborough (and the rest of New Zealand) with their 2020 Seifried Estate sauvignon blanc, that you will find on promotion for as little as $14, at a number of premium wine shows.
Taking out the Champion Sauvignon Blanc Trophy at Royal Easter Show Wine Awards 2021 as well as ‘Best of Show New Zealand’ at the Mundus Vini Tasting in Germany 2020, gold in the AWC Vienna 2020 International Wine Challenge, gold in the Melbourne International Wine Competition 2020, and was rated 95/100 by Oz Clarke of Three Wine Men in the UK (his highest scoring wine of the New Zealand sauvignon blancs) shows just how good Nelson produced sauvignon blanc can be.
The Seifried family have been refining their craft for more than 40 years and this experience along attention to detail in the vineyards and winery has reaped rewards for many years, but this wine is something special – especially at a price point that is accessible to a wide range of consumers.
Neudorf Vineyards are consistently among New Zealand’s very best producers of fine wine. They are listed as one of Michael Cooper’s top wineries in his annual Buyers Wine Guide and being included in the top 10 wineries in the Real Review list is another outstanding achievement. The Real Review tasting team is populated with Masters of Wine so having wines regularly assessed by a team of masters, including Bob Campbell, and being included in their top 10 is special.
Other Nelson wineries to appear in the list of 185 wineries this year include Blackenbrook Vineyards at number 69, Brightwater Vineyards (91), Seifried Family Winemakers (101), Moutere Hills Estate (113), Greenhough Vineyards (115) and St Pauli (164).
At the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards Nelson cheese producer ViaVio was recognised with the Emerson’s Dairy Champion award for their Mascarpone. ViaVio is named after a combination of its founders names; Flavia Spena and Flavio Donati, both originally from Rome. Made traditionally by hand-pouring milk into a cheesecloth-lined colander and leaving it to slowly strain, ViaVio mascarpone impressed the judges with its creamy texture and rich buttery flavour.
ViaVio also won gold medals for their pecorino and yoghurt plus silver medals for ricotta and stracchino.
At the 2021 New Zealand Cheese Awards Thorvald Little River Estate Aged Swiss was awarded the NZSCA Champion European Style Cheese Award trophy in this category.
Nelson’s cheesemakers are certainly making their mark on the national stage in a number of producer competitions and they certainly deserve the support local consumers give them.
When it comes to vegetarian food I don’t usually think of sausages but Nelson producer The Vegetarian Butcher recently won champion awards at the Vegan Society Vegan NZ Sausage Awards in the Best Chorizo and Best Breakfast Sausage categories.
You and I have known for many years that we have some very talented producers in this region and the small selection here reminds us that Nelson really is a place that produces beautiful food and beverages of all types.
An important factor for me is that all the producers mentioned here are family businesses, businesses run by people who are passionate about the products they make.
While corporate producers are important to New Zealand’s export economy it is the smaller “heart and soul” producers that populate this region that really excite me.
Credit: Stuff Neil Hodgson, 05:00, Aug 04 2021