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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fine Wine Tours Auckland - World Famous in Shanghai!!

Phil runs (arguably) the BEST AUCKLAND WINE TOURS on the planet!  Don't argue.

On the weekend, I was asked by Tourism NZ to take a Chinese doco crew from Shanghai around some top Auckland food and wine sites.  There were five people in all: presenter, cameraman/director,  female PA, NZ Chinese translator, and ...another guy.  Dunno what he does rilly.  I often do these 'media famils' for any foreign media interested and food & wine.

The presenter was a young Chinese chap (called Norman) who looked and acted very much like fashion guru  Gok Wan of TV's How to Look Good Naked. His English was very good, so the translator didn't have to translate at all - but he was handy with talking to the other four.

The plan was to start with a local French market, but they were late from shooting at the Fish Market, so I suggested Soljans winery in Kumeu. Turned out to be a good choice, as the presenter was a fan of sweeter wines and loved the Asti style sparkling Muscat 'Fusion', which is their biggest seller.  I don't knock sweet wines at all - this one is like a Muscat sorbet in a glass - clean flavoured, refreshing, naturally sweet and slightly crisp.  For better or for worse, the director decided that I should be filmed, showing Norman around the winery and tasting wines.  Not my first time on TV, but a bit of a surprise.  As usual it was about an hour and a half of filming for about 5 mins of finished product. We just finished when a group of 40 Chinese tourists showed up.

All day we were dodging rain squalls and the usual mixed weather salad that Auckland throws at us - especially in spring.

Next up - back to the City for Chocolate Boutique in Parnell (famous for pre-heart surgery Bill Clinton being a personal shopper).  The shop is tiny, so filming was like doing a square dance in a toilet, with shoppers, staff and crew all jostling and apologising and bumping into each other.  Our final shot was to be me and Norman enjoying a Chocolate frappe in the sunshine.  Naturally as soon as we sat down, the clouds formed overhead and horizontal rain kicked in.  Norman had to keep continuity, so he couldn't wear his squall jacket while filming, and shivered pathetically between takes and his PA rushed over to drape his shoulders.
After about 40 mins of stooging around, the rain stopped, Norman and Phil in position, and ...Action!
'So, Phil.  This is a delicious ice cream frappe, isn't it?'
"Yes!' enthused Phil who hates cream and could feel the cold, fatty milk solids congealing on the roof of his mouth.
'Mmmmmm...!!'

Cut and wrap.  Phil reaches an audience of millions.  Fame and a frappe were thrust upon me.

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