Neilie Young started by thanking the Club and Kevyn Moore fore supporting this wonderful exchange.
She is 38 years old, and is studying to be a Winemaker at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Napier Her secondary education was at Tamatea High School and then on to Victoria University and a hippie life but degree study with a future in teaching lost its glow so she headed to North Auckland and became a restaurant manager.
After 10 years she headed overseas and won a job working on a superyacht for a wealthy Arab in Abu Dhabi. The owners were not friendly so after 4 years she found work on another superyacht. It was owned by an American who was family-friendly and she found that the owners’ wines opened up an interest in wines.
She grew up in the beautiful region of Hawke’s Bay, which is the second-largest wine-producing area in New Zealand. Neilie had graduated from Tamatea High School and became involved in the hospitality industry whilst attending Victoria University in Wellington.
At 22 she moved up to the Northland region where she spent many years as a restaurant manager at a busy seaside establishment where her passion for food and wine began. This was also where her love for the sea developed, and she learned to dive and surf in my spare time.
At 30 she decided to get out and see the world so she sold everything she owned and flew to France to pursue a career working on Superyachts. She spent six years at sea as a Chief Stewardess catering for some of the world’s elite. This allowed her to travel to 40 different countries and experience many cultures.
It was during this time her interest in wine grew. She was in charge of some impressive wine cellars on the yachts, with bottles ranging from a hundred dollars to a few thousand. It was this that sparked her curiosity; what exactly was it that makes one wine better than another? I needed to find out.
She moved back to her hometown in New Zealand where she is currently studying full-time at the EIT to attain a Bachelor’s degree in Wine Science.
She also works weekends on the cellar door at Ashridge Winery in the Bridge Pa Triangle. It is a small, boutique winery of around 25 acres specialising in Syrah and Chardonnay.
She will be completing her first vintage with them in March 2020.
“In my spare time, I like to go scuba diving, especially with sharks. My other loves are hiking, skydiving, travelling to new places, and learning how to cook foods from different cultures. I also just like going out for a wine and a pizza with my boyfriend and hanging out with my cat. I can’t wait to travel to Italy. I might finally learn how to make the perfect Carbonara. Grazie Mille!”