On Saturday 13th February twenty or so Slow Food members and supporters visited Delegat’s winery in Glendene. The winery is tucked away at the end of Hepburn Road, deep in the heart of suburban West Auckland. From the street you can see the idyllic early villa that was home to Nikola and Vidosava Delegat from 1947. Around the back is the business end of the winery, the bottling line, the rows of stainless steel vats, the network of steel pipes, the abandoned crushing plant, the fat plastic hoses snaking over the concrete surface. Winemaker Carlos and Jo showed us round, and guided us in tastings of the Oyster Bay wines and Delegat’s Reserves. A straw poll following a sip of an unidentified white was evenly divided between chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, but there was no dispute about the rawness of the wine at an early stage of production. Same with the merlot, with the later tastings of the bottled product showing its more satisfying finished qualities. Carlos and Jo offered to demystify wine production, and proved to be informative hosts, explaining how the grapes are sourced and blended, how the grapes for reserve brands are selected while still growing, and some of the strategies of marketing, especially internationally. We learnt about the development of New Zealand sauvignon blanc from the sharp ‘smack you down’ style of twenty years ago to the more balanced style of today. Altogether a very pleasant and educational afternoon. Thanks to Carlos for the opportunity to visit Delegat’s, to Carlos and Jo for giving their time to show us around and sharing their knowledge, and to Tanya for hosting.

For more information about Delegat’s wines visit http://www.delegats.co.nz/

Tony O’Brien