Young man Basques in wine­light

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By JOHN EDENS

A Cromwell-based French­man has won a na­tional award for his wine in­dus­try know-how.

Alexis Robin, 28, won the young New Zealand wine pro­fes­sional of the year award at the School of Food and Wine contest in Auck­land. The award recog­nised out­stand­ing can­di­dates in wine sales, re­tail, cel­lar door and dis­trib­u­tors.

Robin ex­celled in a three-stage exam in­volv­ing blind tast­ing, wine knowl­edge and a pre­sen­ta­tion to sell awine of his choice to the judges.

He said the event was run pro­fes­sion­ally and there were high ex­pec­ta­tions from the judges, master som­me­lier Cameron Dou­glas, and Therese Her­zog and Tim Hanni.

He hails from the Basque re­gion and stud­ied mar­ket­ing be­fore mov­ing to New Zealand four years ago and em­bark­ing on a love af­fair with the Cen­tral Otago wine re­gion. He mar­ried a woman from Mos­giel.

‘‘New Zealand wine is a young in­dus­try. They make very good wine but [it is] still very young. In France, it’s cen­turies. It’s like com­par­ing a young teenager with an old wise man with a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence. I do not want to com­pare them be­cause they are so dif­fer­ent.

‘‘But in 30 or 40 years New Zealand will be one of the best.’’

Robin won a trip to Blen­heim for the Her­zog Har­vest Week­end in April.

MERCI BEAU­COUP: French-born Cromwell man Alexis Robin is pre­sented with the young wine pro­fes­sional of the year award by New Zealand School of Food and Wine di­rec­tor Celia Hay and wine master Tim Hanni.

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