Italian Passion and the Soulless Market

Today’s guest blogger is Andrew Parkinson, who works with Negociants New Zealand.


Non Solo

Sitting in a discreet corner of the bar at Non Solo Pizza in Parnell. I have just had an hour with Vivienne Farnell and Ronnie Singh, the owner and sommelier respectively of what may be the most authentic Italian experience in New Zealand. Authentic meaning hectic and passionate. Somehow out of a three-way conversation that was going at least four ways, I came out with some good listings. These are true restaurant people. Vivienne and husband Antonio Crisci have hospitality in their blood. Charming, hard working and smart. With Ronnie every pull of the cork comes with a story.

Accounts like this make Auckland a better place to live and work.


Andrew Parkinson

So as the sole New Zealand correspondent filling Ferrari’s shoes, I thought it apt that I should let you all know what’s going on over here re the wine trade. The recession is apparently in recession, but we are now being affected just as much by the oversupply of cheap Marlborough juice and low-cost imports as we are by the economic doom and gloom. Local labels that didn’t exist last year and won’t exist next year are filling the shop shelves at prices never seen before in this country. Labels with no stories,  no history and no soul are being snapped up by a thirsty bargain hunting public – and who can blame them. It’s war out there in the marketplace. Champagne has dipped below $40 per bottle. South African swill at two for $10. Thank whatever higher power you converse with that we work for a company representing wines with integrity and a story to tell.

I actually had a close encounter of the Ferrari kind just last night.

I was subtly blending in to the tasting crowd at First Glass Wines and Spirits working my way through a selection of Champagnes and Pinot Noirs when Kingsley Wood, the owner and host for the evening, called me front and centre: “Tell the gathered throng about this Bollinger we are about to taste.” Now as I am usually escorting Ms Ferrari to these events and not taking the stage myself I thought to myself, “what would Jane say?” Before I realised what I was doing I had filled the group in on all of the latest from William Peterson since he left CSI and had gained a solid lead on a damn fine cupcake sold somewhere at the top of Queen street.

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