Liv­ing the dream in wine coun­try

Central Otago Mirror - - CONVERSATIONS -

One of the great things about Queen­stown is that friends are al­ways keen to visit. It’s an ex­cuse for those of us who live here to get out and live the life of a tourist.

A friend came down on the week­end of the rain and snow. We em­barked on a mini wine trail and food fes­ti­val.

First stop was Wet Jacket Wines in the old Wool­shed. The build­ing, the am­bi­ence, the staff, the other cus­tomers, a dis­cus­sion about Labradors and of course the wine all pro­vided a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence. Wet Jacket is only 20 min­utes from cen­tral

Queen­stown but it feels like another world.

I’ve no­ticed when at­tend­ing wine tast­ings in the past, there’s al­ways some­one who meets the dic­tio­nary def­i­ni­tion of pre­ten­tious side. The cou­ple next to us were vis­it­ing from Christchurch. They were hi­lar­i­ous.

I just love peo­ple-watch­ing and con­cluded they are ei­ther a cou­ple who have not been to­gether long or a cou­ple en­joy­ing a well-earned break from chil­dren. They seemed full of the joys of life.

Joshua, the wine guide, asked what peo­ple thought of the pinot noir. The guy from Christchurch said he liked all wine. We laughed.

The Amer­i­can tourist told the group how he found it so com­plex. Ev­ery­one else nod­ded po­litely.

I won­dered what he was on about, but kept my opin­ion to my­self for a change.

Another Kiwi guy made it crys­tal clear that he wouldn’t nor­mally drink pinot, as he has to have a strong shi­raz, but he liked this one.

Next, we headed out to Pere­grine. There’d been a power cut so it was wine tast­ing by candlelight. It was fan­tas­tic and re­ally added to the at­mos­phere, as did the heav­enly pinot gris. We were re­united with the Christchurch cou­ple from Wet Jacket. They felt like good friends al­ready.

Then it was off to Gibb­ston Val­ley Cheese for a cheese plat­ter. For $20, we re­ceived three wine tast­ings, three wedges of cheese and crack­ers. De­li­cious cheeses, lovely wine, and great value for money. I will be back.

Fi­nally, we vis­ited Akarua Kitchen. It was a lovely day all round. I could not fault the wine or the ser­vice at any of the places we vis­ited. There was not a bad wine or bad ser­vice ex­pe­ri­ence.

The wine in­dus­try in this re­gion should be proud of what it of­fers our vis­i­tors.

It’s been ages since I lived the life of the tourist. There is some­thing en­er­gis­ing about be­ing sur­rounded by peo­ple with the happy hol­i­day vibe. Daily stresses fade way; you live in the mo­ment and feel so much bet­ter for it.

My friend’s short trip turned into a longer trip with the clo­sure of the air­port. We could have hit the town, but some­times on a win­ter’s night stay­ing home in front of the fire with a pizza and a movie is the best op­tion.

It was like the slum­ber par­ties of my teenage years. With Cen­tral Otago pinot. Now that’s liv­ing the dream.

❚ Queen­stown’s Sin­gle Girl is look­ing for true love. Email mir­ror@stl.co.nz

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