Melanie Brown, kiwi entrepreneur, NZ wine lover and social media extraordinaire, is the founder of The New Zealand Cellar online store and decided it’s time to take the next step – to open a captivating retail space in London where people can explore the wonders of New Zealand wine.
She launched a Kickstarter campaign and “smashed it out of the park” in cricket speak, raising a whopping £42,502 for her retail adventure. The shop in Brixton is opening at the end of May and we’re thrilled that Melanie took the time between painting and organising a million things to answer some of our questions.
Hi Melanie, thank you so much for taking the time to answer some of our questions… here we go:
Director, The New Zealand Cellar.
Number of years in the wine industry:
Chef Apprenticeship in Christchurch at The George Hotel.
Why did you decide to work in the wine industry?
After moving to London and developing a fairly annoying skin problem (the water is exceptionally harsh here) I decided to give Front of House a crack, before long I was consumed by the wine list at The Providores and spent time studying my WSET before I was eventually offered the job to take over the wine list.
What’s so special about NZ wine?
Everything! The reason it’s so special is the people. The common thread of our kiwi nature has allowed to develop very similar core values. We not only want the best for our environment but we are also aware of the responsibility we have to ensure it is treated with the best energy and respect possible. Couple this with the drive to succeed, inspiring travels to traditional winemaking countries and it’s really not surprising New Zealand aptly produces vibrant pure examples of some of the finest wines in the world.
Which wine are you saving to celebrate the opening of your store with?
If you were a wine, what wine would you be and why?
I’d be Riesling – an opportunity to be devoured across every significant phase of a dinner party, yes please!
Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
Ata Rangi Chardonnay + Lobster Risotto made specifically by my husband.
Share a fact about you that only a few know:
I’m a qualified chef.
Things you still want to do:
Travel, it seems there hasn’t been too much of that lately. I need to finish my WSET Diploma too, perhaps I’ll travel and study…
Highlight in 2014:
Pushing the ‘live’ button on The New Zealand Cellar.
Last book read?
Definitely not a reader – honestly I cannot remember!
Advice on buying wine:
Don’t be fooled by expensive wines, think about your food and don’t be afraid to ask a sommelier or assistant for help.
Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
Thank you very much for your time Melanie and good luck for the opening!