I remember getting PR for Big Picture Wine and I must say, the premise of the Big Picture Wine experience sounded complicated. I’ve since gone to have a drink at the bar at the back of the Auckland Fish Market and looked through the locked doors of the Aroma Room with envy and interest. So finally, a few years later, I booked a 4pm Saturday afternoon white wine tour with a friend and we were off on our merry way!
To start with we were introduced to Andreas, our lovely Ukrainian tour guide, who opened the Aroma Room for us. It was really great fun! All the smells are incased in a vial with a silver nip, from which you take a whiff. Lo and behold, butter, toast, honey, grapefruit, peach – every delicious smell from wine can be found in here.
We spent the next hour-and-a-half testing ourselves on our knowledge of identifying every smell in the room. The most unexpected thing about this experience was that each whiff was so totally connected to a memory of the past; by about half way through, the tasting became about recollection. “That smells like drinking a Pina Colada on a hot tropical holiday – it’s coconut!” Actually, it was pineapple. “That smells like bananas on toast” – and the smell was cinnamon.
After running around and taking in all these memories, we were ready for a sit down and a drink! Andreas ushered us into a state-of the-art theatrette, where we were seated in front of our flight of whites. He explained that the theatrette was used early each morning for auctioning the wonders of the sea to the wholesale buyers of seafood. The gizmos under our flights were akin to sitting at the control desk when 10-pin bowling.
The lights were dimmed and we were left to watch the large projection of each winemaker and their interpretation of each wine we sampled in the flight. It was a lovely experience and towards the end we saw Denny from Desert Heart talk about one of her Chardonnays. The girls at Desert Heart have fabulous boutique wines and are the only GLBT-owned vineyard in New Zealand.
The 30-minute film was beautifully made, with aerial shots flying over the regions of each wine, as well as meeting each personality behind the tastes. It was a great introduction to our wines and in fact, to New Zealand! If you are a wine lover, I urge you to go on a tour yourself – it was a lovely few hours well spent.