Q&A with Joe Wang of The Wine Cave

The Wine Cave is a new wine and spirits experiential retail store that has recently opened on Carlton Gore Road.  We caught up with Joe Wang, Managing Director and co-founder.


N.  Can you tell us a little bit more about The Wine Cave and what it has to offer?

The Wine Cave is a stunning new retail space in Carlton Gore Road which boasts an exceptional array of high-end experiences for discerning wine and spirits enthusiasts, as well as a selection of quality wines and wine experiences at affordable prices. The Wine Cave is home to 435 wines (predominantly from New Zealand boutique wineries) 60 spirits and a small selection of craft beers.  The architecturally designed space features a reception area, The Wine Cave store & tasting area, The Wine Vault (access by swipe card only) and a multi-purpose warehouse space, complete with commercial kitchen and semi-open vintage-chic function area, available for hire and for private functions.  The Wine Cave offers an exclusive membership scheme and delivers nationwide and internationally.

N.  What made you decide to start out on this venture?

The Wine Cave is a great platform to share, educate and sell the wines of New Zealand – and other fine wines and spirits both to locals and to tourists – and that’s what I want to do. I am so passionate about New Zealand Wines – and telling the story behind each vineyard. We also cater to the Chinese market who are interested in learning more about wine. I am originally from Taiwan and although I have lived in NZ for decades I’ve noticed a real gap in the market and hope to fill that gap. The vision behind Wine Cave is simple; to provide a premium wine store that offers personalised customer service with the best selection of quality New Zealand wines, artisan craft beer and locally distilled high-end spirits in an architecturally designed store complemented by world class knowledge and advanced mobile shopping technology.

N.  You’ve had an extended background as a sommelier, how did you end up with this as a career?

My passion for cooking and deep love for the culinary arts developed from a young age. As I got older this passion developed into an appreciation of fine wine when I discovered the magical way in which the flavours in food can be brought to life by wine. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for more than 18 years now and have achieved my WSET level 3 and became a certified Sommelier through New Zealand’s Sommeliers & Wine Professionals Association. I was also the first NZ Sommelier to compete in the world’s most prestigious Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) in South Korea in 2013.

N. What do you love the most about Newmarket?

Newmarket is such a vibrant and dynamic place – a premier shopping destination with a diverse range of cafés and restaurants and shops.

N. If you had a pick a favourite wine, what would it be?

Lime Rock Pinot Noir 2013.  This 100% Lime Rock Central Hawke’s Bay Pinot Noir is grown on the limestone hills and is handpicked from the small blocks north-facing vineyard. The three million-year old limestone is soft and crumbly; ideal for vine growth and the best winemaking grapes. The 230-270 m. altitude helps regulate the ripening period and contributes to the distinctive and concentrated aromas. Overall the attention to detail in site selection, viticulture and winemaking are reflected in the wine quality. 2013 was an excellent growing season, with warm weather through to an early to mid-season harvest. This wine is packed with generous spice, red berries, rhubarb and red cherry, with a tight herbal thread, are part of layers that work in tandem. This Pinot has freshness, delicacy, poise and unique chalkiness.

 width=N.  What are some of your favourite wine regions?

Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough. Both regions have a rich history of vineyards and winemaking, many world class New Zealand winemakers and prestige wines are from these two regions.

N. How do you decide which wines to stock at The Wine Cave?

80% of our wines are sourced locally from single vineyard boutique vineyards and are
purchased in small batches. Many are made using organic, bio-dynamic or sustainable winegrowing practices.

N. What is your favourite wine and food combination?

Cocoa rubbed venison loin, poached date and black cherry, roasted beetroot, goat cheese and dark spices port jus. Combined with Frenchman’s Hill Blood Creek and Bordeaux Blend. The bouquet of sweet mocha and leather reflects on the gamey venison loin, while the robust flavours of dark cherry, plum and currant matches the sweetness of the palate and finally the firm tannin and backbone of the acidity enhances the richness of the sauce.

N. What can one expect from a tasting at The Wine Cave?

Individual and group tastings are catered for and tastings can be booked both during, and outside of opening hours. Every month, there will be 16 new wines selected by The Wine Cave’s Sommelier team for customers to taste via a EuroCave wine dispenser, the only one of its kind in New Zealand. Tastings start from $10 per person.

104 Carlton Gore Rd   |   www.winecave.nz

09 930 3115  |  info@winecave.nz

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