Sales & Events Manager | Man O’ War Vineyards | Waiheke Island in New Zealand

What is your favorite savoury food paired with your Dreadnought Syrah’08 wine ?

New Zealand Beef Stew

What is your favorite savoury food paired with your Man O’ War Sauvignon Blanc wine ?

The local Waiheke Island oysters which are the best Oysters ever.

What is your favorite dessert paired with your Ponui Island Pinot Gris 2009 wine?

A classic New Zealand Pavlova or my mum’s apply pie with a glass of Man O’ War Valhalla Chardonnay

Which are your favorite wine festivals in the world? And why?

I haven’t been to many and after Vancouver I may change my mind but I love The Kapalua Food and Wine Festival (Maui, Hawaii) – winemakers come from all around the world, local restaurants get involved and there are fabulous seminars with Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers. Fred Dame hosts the festival held at the Ritz Carlton, it’s a magical location, a little like Vancouver!

How long have you been involved in the wine industry?

I sort of fell into the wine industry by accident 4 years ago and I’m stuck!  I have always been passionate about wine.

What do you most love about the wine industry?

What’s not to love…Fabulous food, fabulous wine and fabulous people with incredible stories to tell. It’s the best industry in the world.

How would you describe the New Zealand wine industry?

Watch this space…ever evolving, dynamic and exciting.

There are many exciting emerging wine regions, there are many great stories and the industry is heading down the clean and green and sustainable road. Try Sauvignon Blanc from other regions in New Zealand, try a Waiheke Island or Hawkes Bay Bordeaux Blend or Syrah. New Zealand  Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris.. we are doing all of these varieties very well!

Where do like to go for wine travel?  Why?

I love France, I love the French people, the language, the food and of course the wine – French people have such passion. I love to discover new wine regions, last year I went to the Walla Walla wine festival in Washington and met the most fabulous people, and had many wonderful wines! Great restaurants in Walla Walla too!

What is your philosophy on food and wine?

Good wine, good food and good people, one is not quite the same without the other.

Any comments you would like to add/make in relation to the state of the wine industry in New Zealand or globally?

Yes, be adventurous – New Zealand makes fabulous Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noirs, Riesling and is making a huge splash at the moment with Bordeaux Blends and Syrah.

How did you get involved in the Wine Industry?

Living in Sydney, Australia I had a fashion label, decided to study wine, did my sommelier certificate, WSET and was always a foodie eating out often. I ended up launching a boutique winery in Sydney, ended up doing a bit of work for a fine wine distributor in Sydney and things spiraled from there. I joined Man O’ War as the Sales/Export Manager and sold my fashion label last year.

I love working for an incredible emerging wine region like Waiheke Island, I love watching people taste our wines and the look of surprise on their face when they realize we make world class wines there!

By: Richard Wolak