Sideways Novelist & Film Maker Rex Pickett Confirmed for Winetopia

Winetopia confirms appearance of Sideways novelist and filmmaker Rex Pickett, invites guests to ‘Date The Maker’ in a Winetopia First, and a host of new wineries join the Wellington event

Winetopia presented by Singapore Airlines, New Zealand’s tastiest and most extravagant celebration of wine, has announced several exciting updates for their upcoming events happening across NZ from this July.

Sideways Novelist & Film Maker Rex Picket

American novelist and filmmaker Rex Pickett, best known for his novel Sideways, which was adapted into a 2004 box office hit of the same name, will be appearing at all three Winetopia events. Rex is currently in New Zealand to write a follow up to Sideways and will be interviewed on the Main stage over a glass of Central Otago Pinot Noir by renowned NZ comedian Ben Hurley at the Wellington and Christchurch events.

Winetopia founder Rob Eliott said: “We’re excited to welcome Rex to our upcoming Winetopia events. His popular Sideways novel and subsequent film helped to introduce millions of people to wine tasting and we’re confident that our wine-loving attendees will be keen to hear about his upcoming project in NZ. In addition, we are excited to be presenting our take on speed dating – ‘Date the Maker’, which will be another fun and rapid way of getting to know more of the NZ wine scene.”

Here for a good time, not a long one, Winetopia today also announces the launch of a new event experience, ‘Date The Maker,’ where visitors will get just a few minutes up close and personal with some dazzling winemakers. This is speed tasting at its finest and by the end of the experience visitors will have become intimate with a range of wine folk from around the country – all serving different glorious expressions of the same grape. Will they find their perfect match, or will they cast all aside for the promise of something new from the sea of wineries awaiting them?

Pouring wine at Winetopia 2022
There’ll be a lot of this happening!

Adding to the long list of wineries heading to the capital for Winetopia Wellington are first time attendees: Amisfield, Ash Ridge, Alexander, Le Gra, Eaton, Gladstone, Hanz Herzog, Hancock & Sons, Nanny Goat, Nga Waka, Sideways NZ and Takapoto. This completes the already strong line-up with well-established brands like Cloudy Bay, Church Hill and Escarpment alongside small boutique wineries such as Esses, Tarras, and Takatu.

All wine varieties and NZ wine regions are represented – from Central Otago and Marlborough to Hawkes Bay and Northland, including even Horowhenua and Kaikoura. 2022 sees a strong representation from Wairarapa wineries, with seven fantastic wineries attending.

With travel restrictions lifting, Singapore Airlines are offering up a pair of flights to travel anywhere on their network, which includes destinations like Hanoi, Bali, Phuket, Cape Town, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, London and many more. Visitors of Winetopia in each of the three cities can enter to win.

Tasting wine at Winetopia 2022
So many wines to try!

The food and wine on Singapore Airlines is curated by esteemed chefs from their International Culinary Panel and renowned Wine Experts, including Oz Clarke, who taste over 1,000 wines each year to produce their menus. This commitment makes Singapore Airlines a natural choice for visitors to Winetopia.

Legendary wine guru Bob Campbell MW, New Zealand’s best known and most prolific voice in wine, as well as Stephen Wong, Master of Wine, who has amassed a wealth of knowledge throughout his career as a sommelier, will both be speaking at the events this year and sharing their expertise.

Prolific wine writers Joelle Thomson and Angie Atkinson also appear across the event series bringing their own flair and discoveries to share. The Auckland event will see the return of the Gaggenau Sommelier Sessions also – featuring a line-up of restaurant Sommeliers as well as tasty matches prepared by Chef Des Harris and Tim Read.

Each Winetopia event will feature over 50 leading wineries in each city and an all-star (and all-Kiwi) cast of presenters. Wine lovers can expect a sumptuous experience with the results of the exceptional past two vintages being opened for tasting (approximately 250 wines per event). 

Blind Wine Tasting at Winetopia 2022
Blind Tasting at Winetopia looks like fun!

Visitors have an opportunity to ‘tour’ each region of the country and try all styles of wine. From Marlborough Albarino to Central Otago Pinot, Northland Chardonnay to Hawkes Bay Syrah, there is something amazing for all tastes. A limited number of ‘Golden Coins’ can be purchased in advance or at the event and these will afford the attendee a taste of one of the most prestigious wines from around the country retailing at over $100 per bottle.  

The Winetopia events will take place at the following locations:

Wellington (1-2 July) at TSB Arena, 4 Queen’s Wharf, Wellington Central

Christchurch (26-27 August) at Te Pae Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre

Auckland (28-29 October) at Shed 10, Queens Wharf

To view the wineries that will be attending the events and to book your tickets, starting at $37 + $2 booking fee visit:

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