Fine Bay sea air - for sailing and wine making

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CHEERS: About 26 sailors and their families here for the Lexus of Hawke's Bay Flying Fifteen Nationals being hosted by the Napier Sailing Club visited Clearview Estate. PHOTO DUNCAN BROWN

By Roger Moroney

For Clearview Estate owners and founders Tim Turvey and Helma van den Berg the nearby sea gave them plenty to talk about when they hosted a group of nautical visitors on Thursday.

The Te Awanga coastal spread is home to the vines which have sparked a series of awards and accolades for the wines they produce, and it is that unique sea breeze location which Mr Turvey relishes in creating vintages with a point of difference.

So he had plenty of nice things to say about the ocean - as did his guests, who took time out from what they had arrived in the Bay to pursue.

Twenty-six championship-seeking sailors and their families here for the Lexus of Hawke's Bay Flying Fifteen Nationals being hosted by the Napier Sailing Club and their supporters took time out from the sea to ... hear about the sea.

Namely the positive taste effects it created for the Clearview vines, in particular what it will mean for the latest plantings of Riesling vines just 150m from the seashore and which will begin producing about 1200 bottles in three years time.

They also took the opportunity to enjoy a full winery tour with Mr Turvey leading the way, a tasting session and lunch .

The significance of the visit was not lost on Ms van den Berg who said the Clearview crew also saw themselves as "almost seafarers" given they were on the coast and that coastline view featured on their bottle labels.

"Certainly the sea plays a big part in helping create our award-winning wines with the cooling sea breeze a significant factor," she told their visitors.

They were delighted with their tasty introduction to the Bay, with Mary Henderson from Hong Kong saying it was her second visit here, although the last time was for just 36 hours.

"I'm really pleased to come back and I enjoyed the tour of the vineyard where Tim talked to us about the vines and how to look after them - I enjoyed the idea that the sheep did the trimming."

For Natusha Zaremba of Western Australia it was her first time here and was "having a ball".

"We are the 'WAGs' of the sailing, so we are the 'plus ones' who see the place while the boys just compete - we've been to painting lessons, seen the Art Deco town, we've been shopping, beaches, wineries - we've had a ball."

The winery has forged a special hospitality link with the championship event in the wake of their trade client manager Lisa Clarke working in with the sailing club's bar manager Carole Wilkinson.

"We started talking with them about the regatta many months ago and it soon became apparent that the prestige of this international event fitted perfectly with our values of providing world class wines," Ms Clarke said.

The winery stepped in to provide its wines for cocktail hour prizegivings, dinners and the ultimate championship awards evening.

More than 110 competitors and their supporters are in the Bay for the championships.

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