In the Maori language Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Meri Kirihimete'. Following is a bit about how Christmas and Boxing Day are celebrated in New Zealand…
New Zealand is in the southern hemisphere, so the holidays are in Summer in New Zealand. While much of the world is singing about a “White Christmas,” New Zealanders are celebrating Christmas in the warm summer sun. Many flowers and trees are in bloom at this time of the year, for example the Pohutukawa, which is a tree that grows mainly in coastal areas on the North Island. Because of its lovely red blossoms, New Zealanders call the Pohutukawa their Christmas tree.
As it is usually quite warm on Christmas Day, New Zealanders may eat their Christmas dinner outside – many people have a picnic or a barbecue. Some people even have a traditional Maori hangi - they dig a hole in the ground and heat it with hot stones, then they put meat and vegetables into this hole, cover it up and let the food cook inside. The hangi is served in the afternoon or evening and after the delicious meal has been enjoyed, people often sit around and sing Christmas carols.
Boxing Day is a public holiday observed in New Zealand every December 26, which also marks St. Stephen’s Day. St. Stephen was the first Christian to become a “martyr” because of his faith and he died by stoning. The exact origin of Boxing Day is still not known but it may have begun in England, where the upper class members of society would give cash or gifts to the lower socio-economic status or may have been when priests open charity boxes (church alms) then give them to the less fortunate on December 26. It may also have been taken from an old tradition where masters placed gifts for their servants in boxes and distributed them the day after Christmas.
During this festive time of year, our Mt. Beautiful team enjoys our Sauvignon Blanc paired with light seafood dishes and salads, and our Pinot Noir with all things barbeque. They also love our Riesling and Pinot Gris paired with lighter picnic foods and local cheeses.
Whether you are barbecuing on the beach in the southern hemisphere or bundled up enjoying a white Christmas in the northern hemisphere, warm wishes of Meri Kirihimete from all of us at Mt. Beautiful!
The City of San Diego, California is a vibrant city with a rich history. We are proud that you can find Mt. Beautiful wines in some of her best restaurants and stores.
San Diego is influenced heavily by American and Mexicancultures, due to its position as a border town, its large Hispanic population, and its history as part of Spanish America and Mexico. Present-day culture includes many historical and tourist attractions, a thriving musical and theatrical scene and a vibrant, diverse food scene.
The city's long history and close proximity to Mexico have endowed the area with an extensive variety of authentic Mexican restaurants. Regional homemade specialties, border fare and haute cuisine are all readily available, as well as Italian, French, Spanish, Filipino, Vietnamese, Greek, Latin, German, Indian, Central and East Asian, Middle Eastern and Pacific Islander food. Wonderful seafood restaurants and steakhouses abound as well.
Following are a few of our Beautiful San Diego restaurant and retail partners:
JRDN Surf: Sky: Spirit: A contemporary steak and seafood restaurant, JRDN features casually sophisticated California cuisine for lunch, and dinner daily. Wine Director, Chris Delaney thoughtfully handpicks the wines for the restaurant’s wine list – there’s a perfect wine to pair every dish on the menu.
The look of JRDN is fresh, cool, clean and upbeat. The atmosphere transforms from California casual to West Coast hip as the day advances. Each evening, the dramatic setting sun, for which Pacific Beach is famous, is celebrated by an ambient reflection on a 70-foot long “wave wall” at the back of the restaurant. Color-changing lighting continues this theatrical effect throughout the evening.
The Harbor House opened in 1980, and serves fresh fish, shellfish, premium steaks and local draft beers.
The Harbor House offers informal dining upstairs and on the outside decks as well as tablecloth/quiet dining downstairs. Manager, Kelly Spar chooses only the best wines to compliment the all of menu items. The restaurant offers great city and harbor views. Walking distance from the San Diego Convention Center, it is an ideal spot for banquets and private events.
Baci Ristorante is more than San Diego’s best Italian restaurant - it’s a friendly, neighborhood gathering place, where people of various cultural and economic classes find the same comfort and pleasure. Think of it as “Cheers,” with fabulous food! Owner, Joseph Wambaugh takes pride in crafting his menus and wine list. He believes that nobody in San Diego does seafood better than Baci’s brilliant chef, Mimo.
Located in the heart of Normal Heights on Adams Avenue in central San Diego, Bine and Vine is a bottle store for craft beers, handpicked wines, artisan cider, mead and sake. Bine and Vine’s top priority is to properly store each product in the best way possible to maintain the highest quality and ensure their customers get the freshest, best tasting products possible. Their staff has over 35 years experience in the beer and wine retail profession and has tasted almost all of the in-stock items. Wine Buyer, Stephen Ansley is a “walking wine encyclopedia,” and he carefully chooses an amazing selection of wines, from hard-to-find gems to everyday value wines. There’s a wine for everyone and for every occasion at Bine and Vine Bottle Shop!
We hope you explore these wonderful venues. Stay tuned for more of our travel and restaurant tips.
He calls himself, “The Gardener,” but Fin Grieve is much more than that to us here at Mt. Beautiful – he’s our Vineyard Manager and he does an amazing job for us. Our vines flourish under his watchful eye. There’s a well-known saying in the wine industry, “great wine is made in the vineyard,” and Fin works closely with our Winemaker, Sam Weaver (more on Sam later) to ensure that our vineyards produce great wines, vintage after vintage.
Fin is our first full-time vineyard manager. Prior to joining us at Mt. Beautiful, Fin, a South Island native, amassed a wonderfully eclectic scope of experience while working overseas in various roles. We believe that there’s nothing Fin can’t do.
In 1991, Fin moved to Marlborough, where he began working with horticulture. This move satisfied his deeply rooted love of the land. While working hard and getting his hands dirty in Marlborough, Fin was bitten by the viticulture bug and decided to specialize in the field. He attended Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) in Hawke’s Bay, where he completed the National Certificate in Grapegrowing and Winemaking.
Since then, Fin gained strong hands-on viticultural experience, including being part of a team that developed the first high-density vineyard in Marlborough, as well as implementing new technological advances. After seven years in that role, he decided to take on a new challenge and joined our Beautiful team.
We wanted to give you a better idea of who Fin really is, so we asked him the following questions:
MB: What’s your favorite Mt. Beautiful wine?
Fin: 2011 Pinot Gris
MB: What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?
Fin: Smoked Fish and Mt. Beautiful Riesling
MB: Who would your ideal dinner party guests be?
Fin: My wife and four children, their pick of one person each (because I know that would be an interesting mix) and I would pick Keith Richards
MB: What was your first paid job?
Fin: Apprentice electrician
MB: What are your favorite things to do in your free time?
Fin: Listen to music, drink wine, have a laugh
MB: Don’t leave home without…
Fin: Phone, wallet, sunglasses
MB: What’s your favorite TV show?
Fin: Breaking Bad
So, there’s Fin, our Vineyard Manager. Stay tuned for more details about our Beautiful people!
"It is hopeless for the occasional visitor to try to keep up with Chicago. She outgrows his prophecies faster than he can make them." - Mark Twain, 1883
Chicago* was only 46 years old when Mark Twain wrote those words, but it had already grown more than 100-fold, from a small trading post at the mouth of the Chicago River into one of the nation’s largest cities, and it wasn’t about to stop. Over the next 20 years, it would quadruple in population, amazing the rest of the world with its ability to repeatedly reinvent itself. And it still hasn’t stopped. Today, Chicago has become a global city, a thriving center of international trade and commerce, and a place where people of every nationality come to pursue the American dream.
Chicago’s signature dishes are true American specialties, and although they can be found in various versions and adaptations around the country, classic Chicago-style food is only done right in the Windy City itself. These regional specialties include deep dish pizza, hot dogs, Chicken Vesuvio (chicken sautéed with potatoes, peas, herbs and spices) and Italian Beef and Giardiniera (a variation on the French Dip sandwich – thinly sliced roast beef, sautéed green bell peppers and sauce on a roll).
Chicago is an amazing city with a rich history. We are proud that you can find Mt. Beautiful wines in some of her best restaurants and stores. Read on to learn about some of our favorite restaurant and retail partners in Chicago.
Bandera has been a family owned and operated collection of restaurants since 1976. Genuine hospitality, simple dishes exceptionally prepared, and attentive service are the guiding principles behind their efforts. Along with live Jazz in the evenings and an all-around comfortable atmosphere, Bandera, features an exhibition "kitchen in the round" which lets the preparation of every plate take center stage. Observe the sizzle of their wood-fired rotisserie where slow-roasting techniques are perfected for select entrees. Signature dishes include the Chicken and Spinach Enchilada with Beef Tenderloin, Barbecue Beef Back Ribs, and the House-Made Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches. Manager, Kristine Lopez ensures that your visit is delicious and totally enjoyable.
Emerald Loop offers lunch, dinner, late night dining and weekend breakfast. Located in the loop at the corner of East Wacker and Wabash in the old Jeweler’s Building…perfect spot to grab a pint with your co-workers after work or for dinner before a show! The menu is large and diverse, but their signature items are the Irish Specialty items including Fish & Chips, Bangers & Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, Fresh Burgers, fresh cut fries and oversized entrée salads. The Vaughan family is happy to share a bit ‘o the Emerald Isle with their guests. Their warm hospitality, coupled with delicious food, wine, beer and full bar keep their customers coming back again and again!
One of Chicago’s best-known and most-respected Jazz establishments, Andy’s offers casually sophisticated dining, with a musical menu of Chicago’s top Jazz artists. Local performers cover a range of styles from Traditional and Swing, to Bop, Fusion, Latin and Afro-Pop. Their “Spotlight Performer Series” events showcase some of today’s most “in demand” musicians in an intimate setting. Owners and Jazz aficionados Jeff and Chris Chisholm love creating unforgettable experiences for their devoted customers featuring the best of food, wine and Jazz.
The Red Lion Pub features an open-air dining room in the summer, three roaring fireplaces in the winter, a private balcony room for groups of 10-20 people, enough history and ghost tales to fill an encyclopedia, 14 unique drafts, a locally sourced and delicious menu and a wide selection of single malts, bourbons & ryes. Owner, Colin Cordwell promises that The Red Lion Pub will remain “a place to talk about ideas.”
Feel like staying in and picking up a bottle or three for the evening? Check out Andersonville Wine and Spirits! This family owned specialty liquor store has been serving Andersonville and the North side of Chicago since 1990. They pride themselves on exceptional service and great prices. They carry a huge selection of wine, beer, and spirits from the best regions and producers. Their staff tastes through hundreds of products every week and selects items according to taste, value, and knowing what many of their regular customers will like.
We hope you explore these wonderful venues. Stay tuned for more of our travel and restaurant tips.
While people in the United States are celebrating Thanksgiving, we at Mt. Beautiful in New Zealand are reflecting on our year. We feel that we have a lot to be thankful for!
First off, we are extremely thankful for you - our Beautiful friends, fans and customers all over the world. Without your ongoing support, we wouldn’t be able to continue doing what we love – creating unique and delicious wines for the people who truly appreciate them.
We are truly thankful for our Beautiful team. Our year-round staff members keep the ball rolling and the wine flowing and our seasonal crew provides invaluable help as well. We all work very hard and for us, it’s a labour of love.
We are thankful for our Beautiful vineyards and the grapes that are nurtured therein. The unique terroir of our property consistently provides us with excellent, trend-setting, stylistic wines.
We are thankful for the all of the Beautiful reviews and scores that our wines have been given throughout the years. Our gratitude goes out to The Wine Spectator, The Wine Enthusiast, The Dallas Morning News and many more.
We raise our glasses of Mt. Beautiful wine and share the Maori toast, “Kia Ora,” with you, which means “to your health”. We wish you all a happy, safe, delicious Thanksgiving, filled with love, light and laughter.
Along with our regular winemaking team (there’s nothing regular about them, really) at Mt. Beautiful, we are lucky enough to have the help of an amazing crew of seasonal workers, who join us in November and again in May to help us with all things viticulture, including harvesting, pruning, bud rubbing, shoot and crop thinning and more. They are hardworking, efficient and happy people and they do an excellent job.
This crew of ten to twelve hardworking individuals joins us from the island chain of Vanuatu. They are allowed into New Zealand under a special program designed to provide a labour force for viticulture and horticulture. The maximum allowable stay is seven months, so we hire the crew twice a year for a few months at a time. During those times, we provide housing for the crew with TV, internet access and cable, which many of them don’t have at home. They are required to pay nominal rent and reimburse us for their airfare during the course of their stay.
Ideally, we get the same individuals on the crew each year, because they are familiar with our vineyard and requirements for top quality work. Getting the same crew also affords us the luxury of not needing to train new people every year.
We use a company called Hortus in Blenheim to obtain our crew and their supervisor, who manages the crew and looks after for their cultural needs. They are religious people and attend the local church on Sundays, which is a big boost for the Cheviot congregation.
Because we don’t need the crew full-time, they often work in other vineyards and wineries around Waipara, so, by default, we are assisting with the needs of other local wineries.
Most of the work is paid by piece rate, so the more the crew achieves, the more money they all earn. Most of them return home with very healthy bank accounts, sometimes the equivalent of three years wages in the islands. They also bring back items that are hard to find at home, such as cell phones, chainsaws, shovels, solar panels, building materials, etc.
This is a win-win situation for us and for the crew and we are very grateful to have them as part of our team. This is the second full season that we have used the crew and are looking forward to many more seasons with them.
“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
Mark Twain said this many years ago and it still holds true. Summers in San Francisco can be cold, damp and downright miserable, but fall and early winter in San Francisco tend to be spectacular. The days are usually warm, the light quality is amazing and the Dungeness crabs are in season and on sale all over the city (particularly in Fishermen’s Wharf).
The City of San Francisco was founded in June of 1776 and the Gold Rush of 1849 made it the largest city on the west coast. It encompasses an area of about 46.9 square miles, with an estimated population of over 837,000 people. Since it is surrounded on three sides by water, San Francisco's weather is strongly influenced by the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean, with moderate temperature swings and a consistently mild year-round climate (except in the summertime).
San Francisco sparkles like a diamond – it has many facets and faces that it shows to its visitors and residents. Each neighborhood is distinctly unique and there are several neighborhoods or districts. The most well-known include Haight-Ashbury, Fishermen’s Wharf, Chinatown, North Beach, Japantown, Union Square and Pier 39. The restaurants in these districts reflect the unique qualities of each district. Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite restaurant partners in magical San Francisco where you may find Mt. Beautiful wines.
Pacific Catch was founded in 2003 by two entrepreneurs, Keith Cox and Aaron Noveshen. Aaron has over 20 years’ experience creating leading edge products and concepts for the food and beverage industry. Keith has conceived of and founded businesses in the restaurant, resort real estate, consumer internet and venture capital industries.
Through the combination of Aaron’s culinary adventures through regions of the Pacific and Keith’s love of the casual, fresh fish restaurants found in Hawaii, Pacific Catch was conceived. Starting with one small location on Chestnut Street in 2003, and with Tom Hanson, COO as a driving force behind it since May 2007, Pacific Catch has turned into one of the most unique fresh fish dining destinations in the Bay Area.
Since the opening of the first Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Dallas, Texas in 1993, the name “Bob’s” has been synonymous with a great steakhouse experience.
Building on the reputation earned in the original Dallas location, Bob’s now has restaurants nationwide. Each Bob’s has created a fine reputation of its own by tightly adhering to the high standards created at the first Bob’s and San Francisco is no exception - GM John Frederick carries on Bob's tradition in grand style.
All locations are examples of the traditional American Prime Steakhouse, combining simple elegance, a lively atmosphere, big drinks, fine wines and large cuts of the finest prime steaks, chops and seafood.
Housed in a beautiful landmark building in the Civic Center area, Jardinière features the award-winning French-California cuisine of Chef Traci Des Jardin. The amazing wine selection, chosen by Wine Director, Jennifer Gomez, perfectly hilights the cuisine.
Before opening Jardinière in San Francisco in 1997, Des Jardins worked in some of the highly acclaimed kitchens in Los Angeles, France, and New York City. Classically trained in French cuisine by some of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the world, Des Jardins style is also influenced by her Mexican and French-Acadian grandparents who taught her how to cook. Throughout her more than two decades in San Francisco, Des Jardins has continued to focus and evolve her style of cooking as well as her restaurants.
If you’re unfamiliar, Sens is the Mediterranean oasis in Embarcadero Center. It boasts a dome-bricked ceiling, rugged rock walls, and exposed beams inside, coupled with unbeatable views of the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge from its expansive heated outdoor patio. The ambiance isn’t the only thing that’s intoxicating, they also have an impressive list of spirits, wine, and beer, skillfully selected by Sommelier/Dining Room Manager Peter Steiner. Their bar staff is both friendly AND knowledgeable – a rare combination in San Francisco.
In 1983, Nancy Oakes opened what was to become one of the most popular restaurants in San Francisco and in America. Created in partnership with Designer, Pat Kuleto, Boulevard began and continues with Nancy Oakes hearty, flavorful and beautiful cuisine as its centerpiece and a wonderfully crafted wine list by Sommelier, John Lancaster and Erick Cadena compliments the cuisine to perfection. Surrounded by Pat Kuleto’s timeless Belle Epoque inspired design, Chef Oakes’ wonderful expression of American regional flavors with a French influenced style has made Boulevard a culinary landmark of San Francisco’s revived Embarcadero waterfront.
Vineyard Update from our Vineyard Manager, Fin Grieve.
“The Gumboot Harvest”
“Well we are at the end of a very challenging vintage! Although we were well prepared in the vineyard, we weren’t prepared for the effects of cyclone Ita!
Our harvest started on the 21st March with our first hand pick of Pinot Noir which was also the first harvest of our new 943 clone, this was about 10 days earlier than last year. This was also ahead of our Sauvignon Blanc, mainly due to having our vines at 1 bunch a shoot.
The thing about starting early is that everything else comes early and the weather is no exception! The warm weather disappeared and we waited for our fruit to reach optimum maturity picking selectively as it reached our goals, and then the rain came! We had almost 25% of our annual rainfall in 10 days so it was a mad scramble by all to bring what fruit we had left out in the vineyard in, luckily most of our hand-picked fruit was already harvested.
The rain and conditions meant that disease became an issue, however the whole team in the vineyard and the winery performed miracles and worked incredible hours to ensure that we got everything we could in good condition. This has been our biggest harvest to date and the fruit is looking good in the tanks.
Although a challenging end to the season it showed us how team work, resilience, and good communication can overcome the odds, and although for me this will be remembered as the gumboot harvest, the wines from it will be typically wonderful Mt Beautiful.“
We are pleased to announce that Summertime In A Glass, "an advocacy and information group that seeks to promote, educate and entertain wine enthusiasts and the industry itself on the world of Sauvignon Blanc" has reviewed the 2013 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc!
Here are some of the highlights of their glowing review:
"Like any good Sauvignon Blanc, it has a fantastic and crisp acidity that provides the “framework” for the wine from start to finish, the latter of which hangs nicely for several seconds. It is all very balanced – it is not overwhelmed with a lot of spicy pepper, herbaceousness (in fact, virtually none) or grass characteristics. To be sure, there are bits of these, but they are held nicely in-check allowing the fruit flavors and the crisp, fresh acidity to shine through.
This is a terrific wine. If you are looking for something “different” from what you might expect from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, I highly recommend this wonderful wine. Check out the 2013 Mt. Beautiful North Canterbury New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc!"
Thanks Summertime In A Glass, we are really excited about our 2013 vintage too!
Vineyard Update from our Vineyard Manager, Fin Grieve.
"Well the nets are on, the vines have been trimmed and leaves plucked, and the weather has been hot and dry, perfect for ripening.
This year the vineyard has produced its biggest crop ever so we have been busy thinning the vines to give us a cropping level that will give us the quality that we are after. Almost all of our hand-picked varieties and clones have been thinned to one bunch a shoot which is both a viticultural and Winemaker's dream, as we can be certain of an evenness in ripeness. The fruit is looking fantastic!
We are about 2 weeks ahead of last year which means harvest is approaching quickly - only 2 weeks away now! All is not in the bag yet though as we are currently under a low pressure system which has been producing thunderstorms, lightning, gale force winds, snow and hail. So far we are surviving and are hopeful of a return to normal sunny weather, fingers crossed!"
It's official, we are number 1 according to the Reverse Wine Snob.
Jon Thorsen is "a wine consumer helping other wine consumers find great grape without breaking the bank. Wine doesn't have to be expensive to be good! All reviews are based on drinking wine normally; no one sip tasting notes allowed."
The one thing that Mr. Thorsen doesn't mention in his bio is his ability to finesse the written word, especially when it comes to wine reviews. Don't believe us? Read his wonderful words about Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir and decide for yourself.
A simply lovely nose of cranberry, black cherry, a little oak, a little baking spice and some nice floral notes is just the beginning on our new #1 wine. This amazing wine tastes silky smooth with lots of tart black cherry, strawberry and cranberry plus some really lovely spice. Medium-bodied with good acidity, this Pinot Noir has absolutely fabulous balance -- it's one of those wines where everything just comes together. It ends fantastically with a very long cranberry and spice tinged finish. If the Pinot Noir snob in you has prevented you from sampling the fantastic wines coming out of New Zealand, this might just be the wine to change your mind.
For the entire list of The Reverse Wine Snob's Top Wines, click here.
I pity the fool who doesn't appreciate this Pinot Noir from New Zealand!