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Gold Medal Wine Club
5330 Debbie Road, Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Welcome to Gold Medal Wine Club. America's Leading Independent Wine Club since 1992. Celebrating 20+ Years!
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New Zealand - International Wines

New Zealand: A premier New-World Wine Country with International Fame

If ever there was an entire country made for growing grapes, tiny New Zealand would have to be considered first for that purpose. Blessed with moderate climates and nearly perfect alluvial soils, the entire country has suddenly become a vast wine-growing area of major international significance. Most of this has happened recently, during the past four decades. As New Zealand’s wine prowess has increased, literally hundreds of wineries and thousands of acres have been devoted to the growth of the almighty grape. There are now more than 430 wineries locate3d on both the North and South Islands, with twelve distinct growing regions. New Zealand is the most southerly of the world’s wine growing regions, and that factor gives its wines an edge on their competitors around the world.

Historically, New Zealand can trace its first plantings back to 1819 to a British immigrant named James Busby. While these first plantings were historically important, it must be said that little was achieved by New Zealand’s wine efforts until around the latter quarter of the 20th Century. Premier sauvignon blancs from the small country suddenly began appearing on world markets and achieving unmitigated successes in open international wine competitions. Additional varietals have been developed by New Zealand’s highly competent winemaking faction and today’s New Zealand winery portfolios address practically any available varietal. Wines have continued to garner top international awards and industry accolades around the globe.

It is no longer unusual to find New Zealand wines in top boutique wine stores and on fashionable restaurant lists. Quite often, these wines also enjoy excellent price/value relationships, another factor in their incredible growth spurt to world acceptability. There are predictions of continued growth ahead for New Zealand’s wine industry. These forecasts come with the conviction that New Zealand’s wines are still underestimated by many consumers and members of the wine industry.

This is great news for New Zealand’s developing wine industry. More plantings and even more wineries will continue to increase New Zealand’s well-deserved place among wine producing countries. All this adds up to extremely low yields that make for excellent quality wines. The area has seen vines planted since 1864, but commercial wines were not produced in Central Otago until 1987. What has happened there since that time is one of the truly great successes in the wine business.

  1. Mt. Beautiful
    2010 Riesling
    Mt. Beautiful
    New Zealand


    90 - Robert Parker
    id: 1163
  2. Mishas
    2008 Pinot Noir
    New Zealand


    90 - Robert Parker
    id: 1217
  3. CJ Pask
    2007 Merlot
    CJ Pask
    Declaration - New Zealand


    91 - Robert Parker
    id: 1218

Kate Radburnd, Oliver (Olly) Masters and Sam Weaver

As CJ Pask’s head winemaker, Kate Radburnd is one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed winemakers. Kate has produced a large number of award-winning wines and is currently the Deputy Chair of the Wine Institute of New Zealand. She has also been instrumental in the development of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand Program that has led to CJ Pask’s inclusion among the first New Zealand wineries to achieve ISO environmental accreditation

Oliver (Olly) Masters is the winemaker for Misha’s Vineyard. He also possesses a reputation as one of New Zealand’s premier winemakers. He began his career in Martinborough more than two decades ago and counts winemaking stints in Hawkes Bay and Burgundy to his credit. He serves as a senior wine judge in New Zealand’s major wine competitions and is considered an expert in the making of Pinot Noir.

British—born Sam Weaver has worked in the wine business for more than three decades. In 1988, he moved to New Zealand to work solely as a winemaker. He has made wine in five different countries and has served as a wine consultant to numerous Kiwi wineries. His own label, Churton, has worldwide distribution. Weaver joined the Mt. Beautiful family early in its existence and has produced its award-winning wines since that time.

C J Pask Winery:
Founded by Englishman Chris Pask more than four decades ago, CJ Pask Winery has long been one of New Zealand’s top wine producers. Pask is credited with planting the first vineyards off Gimblett Road that is today known as Gimblett Gravels. Today’s Pask Winery occupies a modern winery that was completed in 1990 and produces a little more than 50,000 cases annually. It also owns a 220-plus acre vineyard that produces remarkable fruit for the company. Merlot is the most widely planted varietal at Pask, along with significant amounts of chardonnay, syrah and cabernet sauvignon. Smaller amounts of malbec, pinot gris and viognier are also planted.

Pask Winery has long been a leader in international wine competitions and has scored well since introducing its first wines in the mid-1980’s. Wines produced under its Declaration designation are only made in exceptional growing years, when the fruit is of remarkable quality. An added feature of CJ Pask Winery is its strict adherence to an environmental management system. One aspect of the system demands that all winery waste is returned to the vineyard and incorporated into the winery’s composting operation. The completed compost is then returned to the vineyard floor where the vines are able to utilize the basic ingredients of the compost.

Misha’s Vineyard:
Misha’s Vineyard is located on one of the most spectacular sites in New Zealand. Situated at the edge of Lake Dunstan, the 140 acres of Misha's Vineyard is in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago -- the Pinot Noir capital of New Zealand. Owners Andy & Misha Wilkinson set out with a 'no compromise' philosophy to produce premium New Zealand wines intended to impress a defined and discerning market. Misha's Vineyard was initially planted in 2004 and currently counts almost 65 acres of rooted vineyards. The most prominent varietal at Misha’s Vineyard is the testy pinot noir, the modern darling of growers and vintners worldwide. The pinot noir is also considered the most difficult grape to grow by most industry insiders. A range of aromatic white varieties including pinot gris, riesling, gewurztraminer and sauvignon blanc are also found on Misha’s Vineyard.

Although the climate of the Central Otago region is marginal for grape growing, the results speak for themselves. Fruit from this region brings the highest price per ton and are highly prized for their intensity and great flavor. Misha's Vineyard has been named one of the Top 20 Producers in New Zealand by Decanter Magazine of England, long considered the world’s top wine periodical.

Mt. Beautiful:
The owners of Mt. Beautiful, David and Leigh Teece, come from varied academic and business related backgrounds. David Teece is a native New Zealander who is the Tusher Professor of Global Business at the University of California Berkeley. He is also a founder of the well- respected Berkeley Research Group LLC. Leigh is a southern Californian with several degrees and expertise in global banking and marketing.

The couple returned to New Zealand and sought out the most perfect spot to establish their remarkable Teece Family Vineyards operation. Mt. Beautiful is a local landmark in North Canterbury growing area that gives its name to the winery.
The Teeces’ have opted for a true pioneering effort---establishing a new wine region in a previously undiscovered growing area.

‘We have worked with a number of local wine industry experts to develop our vineyards,” remarked Leigh Teece. ‘We feel we have produced exceptional wines for our efforts.”
Mt. Beautiful is planted in sauvignon blanc (60%), pinot noir (30%) and 5% each of riesling and pinot gris. The natural terraces and gullies of the property make abundant use of sun and visual appeal, an important aspect of the Teece’s long term plans.

About The Region

The wine region for CJ Pask Winery is actually a sub-region of the more famous Hawkes Bay wine growing area. Located on New Zealand’s North Island, the cleverly-named Gimblett Gravels is a most unique wine growing locale. The Gimblett Gravels appellation, covering almost 2000 acres, is strictly determined by the gravelly soils laid down by the old Ngaruroro River, which were exposed after a huge flood in the 1860's. Left were light, stony soils with almost perfect draining that became known as Gimblett Gravels. It is the only growing area in the world basing the ultimate designation of their district according to a tightly specified soil type. The area enjoys moderate rainfall and counts 2320 hours of annual sunshine, nearly perfect conditions for growing exceptional grapes.

Misha’s Vineyard is located in the Central Otago wine growing region, the world’s most southerly growing area and also New Zealand’s highest growing locale. While home to over 15% of New Zealand’s wineries, the region only produces around 3.3% of the total grape harvest. The Central Otago experiences a semi-continental climate as opposed to the rest of New Zealand’s maritime environment. Soils are of low to medium fertility and include heavy clays, free-draining silts and stony schist-dominant and glacial soils. All this adds up to extremely low yields that make for excellent quality wines. The area has seen vines planted since 1864, but commercial wines were not produced in Central Otago until 1987. What has happened there since that time is one of the truly great successes in the wine business.

Mt. Beautiful Vineyard claims the Cheviot Hills as its location. Cheviot is located on New Zealand’s northeastern side, just below the southern banks of the Waiau River and is in the Bendigo sub region of the larger North Canterbury Wine Region. Its coastal location assures good air drainage and excellent frost protection. The vineyards are terraced and enjoy the cool, temperate climate. Summers are dry and enjoy westerly winds in both October and November. In many ways, this part of the Canterbury Region is symbolic of many New Zealand growing areas and produces extremely high caliber fruit. Difficult varietals, i.e., Pinot Noir and Chardonnay can produce exceptional fruit in this environment.

BBQ Lamb Kebobs with Garlic Sauce


1 lb. lamb loin
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sea salt
Wooden skewers soaked in water for 30 min.
1 bulb of garlic peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. sea salt


Cut the lamb into bite-size pieces and trim fat off if necessary. In a large non-reactive bowl, mix the olive oil, crushed garlic, lemon juice, paprika and cinnamon. Mix well and then add the lamb. Coat lamb thoroughly and then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or even overnight. Prepare the garlic sauce. Peel the garlic and place cloves in a blender. Add the lemon juice and start to blend. You may from time to time have to stop and push the garlic down with a spoon if it sticks to the side. Add the salt and continue to blend. Now add the olive oil in a slow stream while continuing to blend. The sauce should have the consistency of mayonnaise. Cover and refrigerate garlic sauce until you need it. Once you’re ready to cook the lamb, skewer the lamb pieces. Heat the barbecue or grill over a medium-high heat. Cook the lamb skewers in batches for 1 1/2 minutes each side, or until slightly charred. Serve with a salad or fresh, crusty bread.

Apricot Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar


2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs. chicken breast tenderloins, cut into bite-size pieces
salt & pepper to taste
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
20 dried apricots
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup apricot preserves
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and cook in the hot oil until golden brown around the edges, but still pink in the center, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion, and cook for about 3 minutes more. Pour in the balsamic vinegar, bring it to a simmer, and allow it to reduce for a few minutes. Cut half of the apricots in half, leaving the others whole. Place the apricots into the skillet, and pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the apricot preserves and thyme. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the apricots have softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.