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SHOUT INSIDER PROFILE
Contact: Wendy Steele E: email@example.com M: 021 300 473
OCTOBER EDITION HIGHLIGHTS
Talking to Ash Visvanthan, Woodpecker Hill
Seafood on the menu
NOVEMBER EDITION HIGHLIGHTS
Hospitality NZ Conference – Awards for Excellence
OCTOBER EDITION HIGHLIGHTS
Wine Marlborough Wines with
Cameron Douglas MS
Spirits Behind The Bar: Brandy/Cognac
NOVEMBER EDITION HIGHLIGHTS
Wine Nelson Wines
Beer Lagers with John Oszajca
Spirits Behind The Bar: RTD’s
Contact: Joel Bremner E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 021 370 065
HB_TS House ad combo FPB_Sept15.indd 1
20/08/2015 3:37 pm
In May one of the country’s most experienced sommeliers, Michael
Bancks was appointed customer experience manager at Craggy
Range Winery in Hawke’s Bay after three years away in France.
Formerly manager of Craggy Range’s Terrôir Restaurant for six
years from 2004, Bancks was awarded the title of Sommelier of
the Year at the Culinary Fair in 2008 while in that role.
In France he developed his skills as maître d’ at the three-star
Michelin restaurant of famed chef Michel Guerard at Les Prés
WHAT IS YOUR FULL JOB TITLE?
Customer Experience Manager at Craggy Range Winery in
Hawke’s Bay New Zealand.
DESCRIBE IN ONE SENTENCE WHAT YOU DO...
I oversee the Cellar Door and Visitor Programme, enabling me
to showcase the winery’s unique experience to visitors and key
influencers from around the world.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE JOB?
I have been in my current role since June of this year and have
returned to Craggy Range after living overseas for five years.
I have wonderful history with Craggy Range having formerly
managed Terrôir Restaurant from 2004 to 2010.
BUT MUCH LONGER IN THE INDUSTRY, YES?
Yes, I’ve been working in the hospitality industry since 1998 in
various restaurants, lodges and hotels.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST HOSPO-RELATED ROLE?
My first hospo job was while still at school. I worked on Sundays
at Regazzi café in Takapuna making coffee and clearing tables.
WHO HAS INFLUENCED YOU THE MOST
IN THE INDUSTRY AND WHY?
Prue Barton and David Griffiths (current owners of Mister D
in Napier and previously Vinnies in Auckland) who gave me an
Your Shout •
12 Questions with
Craggy Range Winery
opportunity to work with them at Vinnies in the early 2000s with
industry professionals such as Cameron Douglas MS and Michael
Meredith. Prue and David were also instrumental in my shift
to Hawke’s Bay in 2004 after establishing Terrôir restaurant at
Craggy Range alongside the Peabody family.
Then after working with Matt Judd, also a recipient of the New
Zealand Sommelier of the Year award, I realised the importance
of developing my knowledge as part of my ambition of becoming
a Master Sommelier. Matt’s guidance ultimately influenced me in
going on to win New Zealand Sommelier of the Year in 2008.
More recently Michel Guerard has influenced me. Michel
described my role as Maître d’hôtel as similar to a stage director
to a theatrical performance; a vital role in setting the scene,
tables, lighting and music. It’s about creating a sense of theatre in
serving each dish with precision and aplomb, but most important
and not to be undervalued, developing the human connection
which in the end defines people’s dining experience.
YOU WORKED IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
IN FRANCE FOR SOME TIME, WHAT IS THE MAIN
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES
WHEN IT COMES TO HOW THINGS GET DONE?
In France it’s perfectionism and the high level of training. Every
single member of my 20 strong front of house team there had
studied hospitality to an expert level. The qualification enabled
them to be able to work in the famed three-star Michelin
environment which as you can imagine requires meticulous
attention to detail.
YOU WERE IN A HIGHLY RESPECTED ROLE IN A
3-STARRED RESTAURANT. WAS IT AN EXTREMELY
STRESSFUL JOB GIVEN ALL OF THAT?
I’ve had the chance to work in some fantastic restaurants and
lodges in New Zealand but so far nothing has come close to the
daily pressure of the Michelin Guide. Every single aspect was
meticulously overseen by Monsieur and Madame Guerard who,
even at the age of 82, didn’t miss a beat. You don’t hold three stars
continuously since 1977 by sitting back and relaxing.
WHAT IS THE THING YOU MISS MOST ABOUT LIFE IN FRANCE?
My ethos in life is to ‘live to eat’ rather than ‘eat to live’ so the food
is what I especially miss. Having lived in the Landes region (the
home of all things to do with ducks), I miss foie gras, confit and
magret de Canard. The philosophy at Terrôir Restaurant sits well
with my own personal ethos, Head Chef Leyton Ashley sources
local and unique produce to create French-inspired dishes.
DID YOU HAVE MUCH KNOWLEDGE OF CRAGGY
RANGE BEFORE YOUR RETURN?
Indeed I did, my previous six years’ experience at Craggy Range
provided me with an in-depth understanding of the philosophy. I
was and continue to be a proud Craggy Range ambassador.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE NEW DRINKING DISCOVERY?
It is not so much a new discovery but a rediscovered old friend;
the flagship Bordeaux style blend from our Gimblett Gravels
vineyard, the Craggy Range ‘Sophia’. I especially love the 2013
vintage which is being hailed a ‘vintage of a generation’ as a result
of near perfect growing conditions.
IF A YOUNG PERSON CAME TO YOU AND SAID THEY
WERE THINKING OF CHOOSING THE WINE INDUSTRY
AS A CAREER OPTION WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
Not to think twice and jump feet first into a dynamic and evolving
industry. There are so many interesting aspects to the wine
industry and I particularly love learning more and more about the
history of winemaking and viticulture from around the world.
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