Italian wine imports for Red Bridge into New Zealand started when after competing in the World Championships, AJ & his partner Roz left Spain and drove through the French wine regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne before ending up at Roz’s ex-pat brother Gavin’s home in Rotterdam where he works for a fine wine merchant. As they had a carful of samples the only solution was to hold a party!
During the evening a glass of wine was put in front of AJ (this happened more than once….) and with one sip he was hooked – the wine – a glass of Nero d’Avola . This led to a range of more than a dozen wines being imported from Sicily, and in 2015, following another recommendation from Rotterdam, the stunning Vapolicellas, Ripassos and Amarones of Verona were next on the list.
Travelling first to visit boutique, limited production,high scoring producer Le Salette, AJ was lucky enough to also form an association with Farina Wines (2015 Italian Wine Producer of the Year at IWSC in London) , and the fantastic wines of two quality producers from Valpolicella Classico were also added to his imported portfolio.
The addition in 2016 of more Sicilian wineries – the unique Abbazia Santa Anastasia, the small family owned Marino Abate and Sibiliana; the second biggest co-operative in Sicily, created greater variety and in 2017 he broadened his Italian portfolio even further with the addition of 3 small, family owned, premium producers from Valpolicella – Coali, Montecariano and Monte Faustino.
A new organic producer; Campagnolo was added to the range at the beginning of 2019 to further improve the quality of the Italian portfolio.
After spending time in the famous Piedmont region over several years the start of 2020 sees the introduction of a wide range of the classical Barbera, Nebbiolo, Barbaresco and Barolo wines, along with other well known wines from a number of small producers.