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Celebrating Leading Female Personalities in the NZ Wine Scene

Editor's Note: This event was originally scheduled for February 2022, following the movement of Covid-19 Traffic Lights, the event has been rescheduled to the new date of 19 August 2022.

Admit it, we love our wine. With more than 700 wineries peppered across New Zealand in its unique and spectacular wine growing regions, it's hard to go past tasting rooms and cellar doors and restaurants without stopping in for a taste or a glass.

For the vino curious, the wine industry appears to be a male dominated world. However, a further gaze into the looking glass have seen a prolific growth in recent years on skillful, brilliant and driven women leading and taking up high profile positions within wineries and in producing fantastic New Zealand wines.

This August, Dine Social Auckland in collaboration with the Hilton Auckland are proud to present an evening that celebrates leading female personalities in the New Zealand wine scene. "Women in Wine – Chef & Winemakers’ Dinner" is an exclusive event featuring an all-star female line up of winemakers, Master of Wine and chef collaboration alongside Hilton Auckland's resident Culinary Director Des Harris and the team at the Hilton Auckland’s FISH Restaurant. FISH has recently been awarded One Hat in the Cuisine Good Food Awards 2021/2022.

Hilton Auckland

Friday, 19 August 2022

$220 per person

Sparkling cuvée on arrival, snacks, live opera Four course dinner matched to wines

Before this very special evening commences, here’s a peek into their highly respected achievements and careers.

First row L-R: Helen Masters, Claire Allan, Jen Parr

Second row L-R: Kate Radburnd, Kelli Brett, Giada Grilli

Helen Masters – Ata Rangi, Martinborough

Helen grew up on the Kapiti Coast and was the youngest in a large family of 12 who would often bring home bottles of red wines and have boisterous lunches discussing wine. It was this point were her interest in wine was sparked. Helen has worked in vintages in New Zealand and USA. She joined the iconic Martinborough vineyard, Ata Rangi as Head Winemaker in 2003 and is reputed as one of the region’s pioneering wine producers and local wine hero. Her tenacity in winemaking is admired, with a hands-off approach and as Bob Campbell MW describes “thoughtfully rebellious”, preferring to lead and challenge what winemaking offers than to follow.

Helen was awarded the New Zealand Winemaker of the Year in 2019 and the 2010 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir, along with Felton Road Pinot Noir, was honoured with the first Tipuranga Teitei o Aotearoa accolade – the Grand Cru of New Zealand.

Claire Allan – Huia Vineyards, Marlborough

Claire has been surrounded by wine and food since her childhood days in North Canterbury. Her journey in wine began in Roseworthy Agricultural University in Adelaide, Australia. From there she has learnt the craft of making Champagne at Taittinger before returning to New Zealand as a winemaker for one of the country’s most historical wine brands, Corbans. Having honed her craft as winemaker in New Zealand as well as France, Claire moved on to being the first winemaker at Lawson’s Dry Hills and took the bold plunge in making her own wine alongside Mike Allan, forming the wife-husband team at Huia Vineyards.

The dedication and labour of love shines through in the elegant Huia wines and outstanding sparkling wines. Under the care and guidance of Claire and Mike, Huia Vineyards is certified organic and the wines produced has achieved numerous international and local accolades.

Jen Parr – Valli Wines, Central Otago

Jen's interests in wine began in University through visiting cellar doors and vineyards across Napa Valley while she studied and through her travels around the world. She has a depth of winemaking experience spanning across the globe, from USA, to France, South Africa, Australia and finally New Zealand. She has completed 17 harvests in NZ and has completed 30 vintages overall.

Jen was head winemaker for Olssens (now known as Terra Sancta) for five years before joining Valli wines in Central Otago as head winemaker. She is highly involved in the local Otago wine industry and acts as a consultant winemaker for several other Central Otago producers as well. Pinot Noir is her passion and she was awarded New Zealand Winemaker of the Year in 2020, amongst many other accolades she has received through her career as winemaker.

Kate Radburnd – Radburnd Cellars, Hawke’s Bay

Kate is a veteran Hawke’s Bay winemaker boasting more than three decades of experience under her belt. She was head winemaker of Pask wines for 26 years and moved on to establishing her own label: Radburnd Cellars, representing the best of Hawke's Bay with handcrafted Chardonnay, Syrah and a Merlot Cabernet blend.

In 2010, Kate was awarded the Sir George Fistonich medal made a Fellow of New Zealand Winegrowers in 2015, making her the first female winemaker to receive the award. As a further testament to Kate’s career, she was inducted into the highly prestigious New Zealand Wine Hall of Fame in 2019.

Kelli Brett – Editor, Cuisine Magazine – MC for the evening

Kelli Brett is an award winning food journalist, author and broadcaster. She is the editor of New Zealand's well-renowned food, wine and lifestyle magazine, Cuisine. If there's anyone who has a passion for promoting and heralding the vibrant and innovative New Zealand treasure trove of talent chefs and acclaimed restaurants, it is Kelli Brett.

Kelli has also been a guest judge at numerous prestigious food events and drives the highly-anticipated annual Cuisine Good Food Awards which presents a list of lauded dining experiences through a Hats rating system. This is the only nationwide restaurant awards programme of it's kind in the country and the annual Hats awards are regarded internationally as the authority on the dining scene of New Zealand.

Giada Grilli – Head Chef at Skycity

Giada was surrounded by food for almost all of her childhood. Growing up in Bologna, Italy, she always knew she would be a chef as she spent time alongside her grandmother (nonna) and aunts as they whipped up scrumptious meals.

Giada boasted experience working in highly acclaimed restaurants in Italy and Melbourne before coming to New Zealand. Once she settled in Auckland, she’s continually honed her skills in some of the city’s top fine dining restaurants and chefs – The Grove, Merediths, Sidart and Lilius. Giada joined The Sugar Club as junior sous chef and she quickly rose up amongst the ranks to become the Head Chef at The Sugar Club in 2020.

Giada was also one of the semi-finalists in the coveted 2019 San Pellegrino Young Chef Competition for the Pacific region where she competed against nine extremely talent young chefs. The competition saw an esteemed panel of judges such as the likes of Christine Manfield, Peter Gilmore, Jock Zonfrillo to name a few.


These leading wine personalities are highly respected and have achieve numerous awards and recognitions throughout their career. The wines and the work done by these female personalities are outstanding and leaves a lasting impression on young, aspiring wine professionals carving a career through this path.

We are excited to host this special event and celebrate these outstanding professionals and their contributions to the industry.

A handful of tickets are still available for you to experience this event, get them here via iTICKET.

Hilton Auckland

Friday, 19 August 2022

$220 per person

Sparkling cuvée on arrival, snacks, live opera Four course dinner matched to wines


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