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‘The Family of Twelve Award’ scooped by Australian sommelier

14. 08. 2019

L to R: Blair Walter of Felton Road, Melissa Moore & Helen Masters of Ata Rangi

“The Family are very proud to have hosted our second annual Wine Tutorial.  It feels like we’ve created an institution with a life of its own that will help take fine New Zealand wine into the future.” Family Chair Paul Donaldson.

The Family of Twelve (surely New Zealand’s most illustrious wine group) hosted 12 dynamic and engaged wine professionals in Auckland for their second annual Wine Tutorial.

The lucky twelve were selected from a long list of applicants from Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Where else are you going to taste a Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles 2015 and a Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé, Grand Cru Bonnes Mares 2010 alongside our very own family wines. Throw in two splendid dinners; at Kumeu River and Villa Maria and you have a memorable few days.

When the swirling, marking and learning was over it was time to announce the winner.  Melissa Moore, of Sydney, Australia, won ‘The Family of Twelve Award’. 

Melissa demonstrates a true passion for wine with the confidence to share it in an articulate yet very contemporary way.  Melissa’s impressive background features wine-show judging and sitting on industry publication tasting panels.  Working in the head sommelier team for the Merivale Group and as a wine educator brings Melissa into very regular contact with wine lovers.  Melissa will make a terrific ambassador, taking fine New Zealand wine into the future with great optimism and flair.

The Family are very pleased to name Josh Pointon, of Wellington, New Zealand, as the winner of the ‘Institute of Masters of Wine Prize’.  As the participant showing most promise for the Institute’s MW education programme Josh will travel to Adelaide, sponsored by the Institute, to the attend their annual educational seminar in November 2019.  Josh has shown great commitment to his professional development having gained a WSET Diploma and becoming a WSET educator himself.  As co-owner of Wellington’s iconic Noble Rot wine bar Josh shares his passion through a great wine list with the wine bar’s many loyal customers.

Over two and a half immersive days the participants were tutored and challenged to be the best that they could be in a series of compelling blind-tasting workshops tutored by Family members and external Master of Wine, Stephen Wong. This format was very effective, enabling the Family to pass on their knowledge and wisdom to the participants. 

Tutorial Wine Chair Blair Walter, of Felton Road, said “The workshops and dinners were once again superb experiences with the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir lineups true standouts.   Our Kumeu River, Villa Maria, Pegasus Bay and Neudorf Chardonnays totally held their own tasted blind with white Burgundies from several exalted domaines.  The Pinot Noir story was the same, always a nail-biter our Family wines were captivating, tasted blind against some of the rarest red Burgundies, including Grand Crus, we could find”

The tutorial showcased the Family’s best amongst line-ups of fine and fascinating wines from many of the world’s greatest estates; a global context for fine New Zealand wine.

Over the eight workshops we deftly poured some 2000 wine tastes from 84 different producers, in 57 wine regions across 14 countries from England to Italy and the USA to Argentina into hundreds of Riedel glasses”. 

Family Chair, Paul Donaldson says “Wine is all about people so tasting great wines shoulder to shoulder with industry peers, pioneering wine-growers and Masters of Wine lent a rich and rewarding dimension to the learning experience of these future industry leaders”.  Paul adds that “we’re already planning the next wine tutorial which again will be open globally to those working with New Zealand wine, in the areas of sommelier, retailer or educator.  The determining force for selection is the applicant’s potential and desire to make a difference; to contribute meaningfully to a fruitful future for the New Zealand wine industry.”

We’ll host the 2020 wine tutorial among the vines in Marlborough, home to four Family wineries.  Dates to be advised but those interested are encouraged to reach out to us at

Such an event wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our sponsors: Riedel the Wine Glass Company, Antipodes Water and Garage Project beer.  Warm thanks also to the many wine merchants and wineries who dug deep to help us present the terrific tastings.

Please see for the full participant list.

Please see for the full, superb lineup of fine and fascinating wines poured for participants at the tutorial. 

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