Gewürztraminer – more than a mouthful

You don’t need to know how to say it to enjoy it, but who doesn’t want to sound smarter at dinner parties right!?

It’s one of the more unique wine varietals, not to mention one of the more difficult to pronounce. Gewürztraminer (say it with us, “Geh-VIRTZ-trah-MEE-ner”) is a seriously underrated wine that is making a stellar comeback this party season.

If you are yet to try Generations Gewurz by Allan Scott Family Winemakers, close your eyes and think Mediterranean Sea… warm air, cool water and a soft breeze carrying fragrant, exotic spices from afar. Just one sip and you’ll experience an intense lychee punch and tickly spice finish, without the over-the-top soapiness associated with some new world Gewürztraminer varieties.

The interesting thing about Gewurz is that it can tame food dishes other white wines can only dream of such as truffles, foie gras and piping hot curries. It’s flamboyant in the mouth yet balanced and elegant – the perfect combination of sassy and sweet.

After tasting the oh-so delicious new Generations Gewurz for the first time, the Undertow Media team was dead set on launching this new varietal to the masses and making it more welcoming for all Kiwis. Because let’s be honest – it can be intimidating to drink a wine with a name you can’t even pronounce. Especially if you’re on a date. Or trying to impress your in-laws.

With the Gewurz’s unique Asian and Mediterranean food matches in mind, it was only fitting we call on our friends at Very Good Dumplings, Auckland’s favourite food truck offering delicious and authentic balls of delight, to join us at the launch. Given the only thing better than wine at midday is wine AND dumplings at midday – the RSVP list was bursting.

We turned a cosy wee space on Richmond Road full oriental with foliage, wooden barrels, steamers, fans and other Asian-infused elements to set a ‘noodle night market’ vibe and provide plenty of Instagram-worthy touch points. There were also bowls of fortune cookies with personalised ‘Allanisms’ inside (classic Allan Scott sayings and words of advice) which went down a treat.

While lead winemaker Josh Scott held court with a special wine tasting, Allan introduced the Generations range and explained the meaning behind the name.

We had a fantastic turnout and secured strong online, social and print coverage in top publications (including MiNDFOOD, The Urban List, Taste, Fresh NZ, National Business Review, Nadia, Kia Ora and NZ Herald – Viva) with a whopping 953,054 opportunities to be seen.

Josh made an interesting point when taking guests through the tasting – he explained that most Kiwis identify themselves as ‘wine novices’ or ‘wine enthusiasts’ at best (certainly not ‘connoisseurs’).

Since now we all know how to pronounce Gewürztraminer, we thought we’d share a few tips from Josh to ensure we all head into the party season with confidence…

Wine 101 Josh Scott

Help – I know nothing about wine and don’t know where to start! What varietal should I go for?

From Riesling to Champagne to Merlot – getting your head around wine can be confusing. Start with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Sauvy, my personal favourite, is the backbone on the NZ wine industry. It has lots of tropical and herbaceous aromas, and is very, very food friendly. Pinot Noir on the other hand is full of red fruits and is easy to drink with a silky palate.

Please explain (in English!) some of the most common wine descriptors

  • Oaky/nutty – wine that has seen wood (generally found in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) which can also give toasty, smoky characters
  • Full-bodied/round – wine that is full of flavour and rich on the palate. Some wines are quite light in style and easy drinking, whereas full-bodied wines usually have a lot more grunt
  • Grassy – think freshly mowed lawn… grassy is almost always a sauvy descriptor
  • Floral – wine that is light, pretty and has lots of flower and garden aromas. Floral is mainly used as a descriptor for aromatic wines, but sometimes you hear lighter Pinot Noirs described as floral
  • Dry – no sweetness in the wine whatsoever

What’s the ‘correct’ way to hold a wine glass?

There’s no right or wrong, but common etiquette is to hold the glass by its stem. This ensures you don’t warm the wine with your hand.

How long do different types of wine last once opened?

If you open a bottle of wine it’s always best consumed straight away. Red wine is really only good for one night, whereas white wines will last for a few days in the fridge.

I’ve always put a teaspoon in my opened bottles of sparkling… does this actually help it to stay fresh?

Using a teaspoon does nothing but make you look gullible, unfortunately! Wine preservers help extend the life of a wine, but to be honest, it’s best to just drink the whole thing!

What is the correct process for tasting wine?

The process is always sight, smell, taste, spit (or consume). There are no special tricks – simply take your time to appreciate the many different aspects of a wine and the experience that comes with opening a new bottle.

When it comes to food and wine pairings, what are the basic rules?

There are two avenues to follow when matching wine and food – contrasting flavours can work really well, however the safer (and more common) approach is matching flavours that are harmonious. Some tips for beginners – dry whites are great with seafood, aromatic white (sweet white) wines are great with spicy food, and reds are all about gamey dishes and red meats.

So, now that you’re in transition from novice to enthusiast, simply stock up the fridge with a few bottles of wine, make an extravagant cheese platter, then invite your friends/date/in-laws over and knock their socks off with your impeccable pronunciation of ‘Gewürztraminer.’ You’re welcome.

Two Sides of The Same Coin

The Symbiotic Relationship of PR & Journalists & How to Make It Work for You

Ah, PR and journalism! A tale of love and hatred as old as time.

Literally born from American journalist Ivy Lee deciding to lend his newsroom expertise to the corporate world in the early 1900s, it’s no surprise that PR shares an intrinsic and symbiotic relationship with its media predecessors. However, while the last 100 years have left the industry unrecognisable from its early origins – its influence now stretching into the boardrooms of state, commercial and non-profit organisations alike – equally drastic are the changes that have occurred in the last 24, 12, even 6 months.

Despite being no secret that the rise of digital media has onset a reciprocal and simultaneous decline in that of traditional, unbeknown to most is the toll that this has taken on the PR/journalist relationship. An industry where job cuts, culls and mergers remain the only constant, journalists are increasingly being expected to be one-person newsrooms; writing, broadcasting, Tweeting, iPhone recording, Insta’ Story-ing machines. It’s no surprise then, that journalists’ patience for press releases – a minuscule margin to begin with – is shrinking as rapidly as your local newspaper’s circulation.

At the other side of the spectrum, worsening the issue is PR’s unprecedented industry growth; an abundance of practitioners now competing fiercely for journalist’s scarce time and attention. This isn’t to say, however, that capturing their attention is impossible should you know the appropriate methods to do so. In fact, the growing pressures placed upon journalists mean that they’ll often happily work with a neatly edited release; provided it adequately piques their interest and provides the groundwork for a compelling news story. But when journalists routinely receive hundreds of media releases per day, the million-dollar question remains: how do you make yours stand out from the crowd?

The answer, as simple yet elusive as it may be, is respect; the very notion of reciprocal communication and mutual understanding that underpins the PR profession as a whole. As blatant as the two-syllable solution may be, however, at times escapes even the very best of practitioners. You see, not unlike their media peers, PR too is an industry defined by its fast-paced, dynamic, and often frantic nature; those working within it similarly finding themselves at a frequent loss for time. The result? The dreaded “Hi (insert name)” press release; a painfully impersonal approach destined for the trash box of each randomly mass selected recipient. Wasting the time of all those involved, here at Undertow Media, we cannot emphasise enough the importance of avoiding these. Nonetheless, while the simple inclusion of a personalised greeting can work wonders for your release, it is by no means the end-all to ensuring successful media outreach.

Instead, your release should be finely targeted to those in the media to which it specifically relates and it should go without saying that the information you provide is accurate. With the disturbing rise of fake news, journalists are under even more pressure to ensure the accuracy of their reports. Do your research and only give reliable, factual information. Respect is paramount; if someone is to publish a story detailing your client’s latest launch, the very least you can do is show you engage with their content (better still if you actually do engage with their content) and you know their format and audience. And finally, for extra brownie points, familiarise yourself with the deadlines of the outlets to which you’re pitching, and – you guessed it! – respect them. If a newspaper is published every Friday, don’t embarrass yourself by sending your release at 7:59pm on a Thursday night.

Two sides of the same coin, both public relations and the media rely on one another for their sustained and successful operation. However, while the 21st-century shift toward digital media has witnessed dramatic upheavals in the industry landscapes of both professions, the way in which the two relate has remained relatively unchanged; albeit steadily rising tensions between each. Ignored for too long, going forward, an adjustment must be made; a greater effort by PR professionals to treat journalists as more than just faceless rows on an Excel spreadsheet, as well as one from the media to acknowledge (and respect) the time and effort gone into crafting the communications material that they so readily discard.