Tag: UK

Meet Natasha Rastegar from Wine Intelligence

I’m back from Europe! Refreshed, relaxed and recharged with lots of ideas for Sip NZ Wine. I look forward to sharing those with you over the coming weeks.

Today’s portrait is about Natasha Rastegar, a management consultant to wine businesses and Country Manager for Australia & New Zealand at Wine Intelligence.

I worked with Natasha during my time in London and I’m pleased that she moved down under to help wineries find out more about how wine drinkers tick.

Hi Natasha, thanks a lot for letting me feature you on Sip NZ Wine. Please tell us a bit more about your job:
The focus of my role is to gleam insights from consumer trends and translate them into recommended actions for my clients, who are a range of wine businesses across Australia and New Zealand. The breadth of our client base and the scope of business questions I am helping answer, means that what I do is often very different one day to the next.

You might find me moderating a consumer focus group, interviewing industry opinion leaders, analysing quantitative data from one of our wine drinker surveys (Vinitrac®), running workshops or presenting our latest findings at a conference.

I’m based in Sydney, but frequently travel between Adelaide, Melbourne and Auckland, as well as to other important export markets.

Number of years in the wine industry
Nearly 6.

First Job
Teaching children French and Spanish at a language summer camp.

If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
Shiraz! Not only a favourite varietal, but the city my father is from (in Iran).

What would you do if you wouldn’t be a management consultant?
Maybe a psychologist – one of the things I enjoy most about my job is trying to understand why people think and act the way they do.

Why did you decide to work in the wine industry?
As a graduate, I was looking for a career where I could travel, meet people who were genuinely passionate about their industry and do something that would make me sound vaguely interesting at a dinner party. I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the Wine Intelligence graduate scheme in the London office, and haven’t looked back since.

Can you share two facts about New Zealand wine drinkers?
We estimate that there are 2m adults in New Zealand who drink wine at least once a month (that’s 60% of the population); as context, in Australia we estimate there are 11.2 m  (65% of the population).

The top three things New Zealand wine drinkers claim to look for when shopping for wine (beyond price) is grape variety, familiar brands and recommendation by friends or family.

Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
Ribera del Duero Tempranillo + Jamón serrano – a long-standing favourite from when I lived in Madrid.

Hidden gems and favourite spots in Sydney
Too many to mention, so let’s keep it drinks focused: Love Tilly Devine, a little wine bar, tucked into the alley way behind our office is a favourite spot after work or Island Bar on Cockatoo Island, overlooking the harbour and CBD, on a lazy sunny Sunday.

Things you still want to do
Again, too many to mention, so here are 3 things I haven’t done in the 18 months I’ve lived in Sydney and currently want to do:

See an actual Opera at the Opera House (I’ve seen lots of plays, comedy and music concerts, but no Opera), have dinner at Catalina’s and swim in North Sydney Pool (the one under the harbour bridge).

Last book read:
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by David Eggers.

Advice on buying wine:
In this part of the world, take advantage of the fact it’s relatively easy to buy from cellar doors / direct from the wineries; something that I wasn’t used to coming from the UK. Otherwise, shop at stores where the staff are interested in wine and ask for recommendations.

Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?
My inspiring parents and three hilarious, loving siblings; all together. They’re alive, but live in England, so any opportunity for a glass of wine all together is a precious treat.

Thanks Natasha!

Find out more here: www.wineintelligence.com


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Meet Melanie Brown – Owner of London’s 1st NZ Wine Shop

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:

Full name:
Melanie Brown.

Director, The New Zealand Cellar.

Number of years in the wine industry:
6 years.

First Job:
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?
Dom Perignon.

mel 3

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.

Favourite spots in London:
Naughty Piglets, Sager & Wilde, Tooting Common, Brixton Village.

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?
My husband.

Find out more about The NZ Wine Cellar and soon to be opened Shop here. Follow Melanie on Facebook | Instagram & Twitter.

Thank you very much for your time Melanie and good luck for the opening!


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