Sam Barclay

My parents inspired my love of cooking and entertaining. I remember many happy nights with family friends around our dining table, eating wonderful food and (when old enough) drinking good wine. My father was famous for Ginger Mussels, perfect with a Riesling like our Ostler. Many of my best memories involve wine - when my girlfriend (now wife) and I finished law school, we travelled up the length of New Zealand from Otago University (the very South of the country) to Auckland in the North to launch our careers. We toured through every wine region, stopping at dozens of vineyards and buying a bottle at each (all we could afford at the time!). We also lived in the US for 20 years, spending many vacations travelling to the wine regions of California and Europe.

Emma Rasile

Wine, food, culture and travel are my passions after a life lived between North America, Europe and New Zealand. The first sip of something delicious starts my desire to discover – the vintage, the grapes, the region, the winemaker... I love a long lunch with friends, sharing laughter, stories, sipping beautiful wines and eating delicious fare. My favorite varietals would have to be Champagne (or Methode Traditionellé as we call it here), Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling (all Aromatics really), Pinot Noir and Syrah. It’s no wonder I can’t name a single New Zealand region as a favorite, they’re all amazing! Coastal Hawkes Bay, charming Wairarapa, mountainous Central Otago, lush Marlborough – each with so much on offer warranting repeat visits time and again.

Michelle Hanley

Tasting wines is one of my favorite things to do! New Zealand has so many fabulous wines to offer. Since moving to New Zealand from the UK, I have enjoyed visiting the different wine regions. My favorites regions would have to be Marlborough and Central Otago. A New Zealand Pinot Noir would be my first choice when it comes to selecting a wine.

Graham Painter

During a trip to visit family in the States I was sent out to fetch a nice wine for dinner. Naturally I wanted to show off some of the outstanding wines New Zealand has to offer. I went from one wine store to the next but all I could find was big-name Sauvignon Blancs. I wanted something special – a deep, rich Pinot Noir or Syrah perhaps or a superb Riesling... That was a turning point for me and my life has revolved around wine ever since. I now work with some of the best family estate, artisan wine producers in New Zealand to help them take their wine to the world!

Jack Downs

As a man of few words and self acclaimed home chef, in my opinion, nothing beats a Sunday roast of New Zealand lamb or beef paired with a heavy red (Cabernet Blends in particular). New Zealand winemakers produce elegant yet intense red blends by harnessing the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon and often balancing this with the full fruit of Merlot. 

Caroline Herrick

I’m a passionate foodie, home cook and wine lover. I host regular dinner parties with friends where everyone brings a different course and I’m responsible for choosing the perfect wine match to accompany each dish. It’s a challenge I relish! When I’m simply opening a bottle of wine to enjoy, in summer I’ll reach for a Pinot Gris from Central Otago or a Hawke's Bay Chardonnay. In winter, nothing beats a roaring fire and a glass of Ostler Pinot Noir from Waitaki Valley or a deep and decadent Syrah from Gimblett Gravels in the Hawke's Bay. 

Emma Elwood

Wine to me is a love language, it’s a treat, an accent to a good meal, and the greatest addition to an occasion with the girls, that special someone, good friends (or total strangers for that matter). Each bottle is filled with the story of their makers and the region in which it was grown, both the aroma and the taste telling you exactly what went on that season. Still growing my palette, I absolutely love exploring all the different types of wine New Zealand has to offer; with our long summers and beautifully crisp winters, it really is the perfect climate to produce spectacular wine. The occasion inevitably dictates which type of wine I’m looking for, but my overall favourites would have to be Pinot Noir, Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc.

Cameron McColl

I’ve always been a foodie, with a passion for exploring different flavour combinations. Naturally, this has slowly led to an interest in experimenting with different wine and food pairings and finding flavours that compliment each other. I’m drawn to blends of red that are deep, full bodied and rich in fruity flavour. I love to find unusual and surprising pairings, such as matching dishes holding the classic flavours of Asia (ginger, chilli, coriander, lemongrass) with a great New Zealand Cabernet Sauvignon - Mills Reef is a favourite of mine. Believe it or not, it just works!

Nisha Odedra

Food and drink has the ability to bring people together, no matter their background. My wine journey is a new one, but I've already come to the conclusion that red takes the cake everytime. Being part of the New Zealand Wine Navigator tasting panel means I've been able to explore the array of world class wines New Zealand has to offer. I look forward to the summer months, when I can crack open my new found favorite, the Ostler Lakeside Vines Riesling, by the beach.