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Newsletter: March 2021

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Autumn greetings,

We watch captivated by the spectacle of those impressive America's Cup yachts foiling at 40 knots across the Hauraki Gulf, and at the same time, it's hard not to have a salutary reflection on the last 12 months.

Almost to the day, we were celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the New Zealand School of Food and Wine with special wine tastings, cooking classes, forage and gastronomic dinner for over 75 guests + our students. Many of our Christchurch team, including Lois, Philippe and Victoria had come up for the weekend. My mother-in-law, June Hay had also joined us from her retirement home in Christchurch. By Sunday 15 March, I was getting pretty nervous about Covid-19 and rather than have June stay in the North Island for a holiday, she returned home the next day. A few days later June's rest home went into lockdown and I counted the 14 days to see if we too had a NZSFW Covid Cluster. Fortunately not! See below some photos as we recalled the 10th Anniversary of the Christchurch Earthquakes.

We all understand and appreciate that we are very fortunately to be living in New Zealand and certainly in Auckland, we have learnt to make covid-contingency plans. For us, teaching about cooking, hospitality and wine, we have been able to continue delivering our programmes online and I am very proud of that achievement - even last week, with only a few hours notice of lockdown, we were able to get our student back in the virtual classroom and continue baking from home... Chef Finn is now a gifted online chef...even taking his camera (on the laptop) into the heat of the oven to show students how his baking is progressing. (See photos below).

I too, have managed to deliver many hours of online sessions from culinary history (we do an historical timeline from Marco Polo to Molecular Gastronomy) to drawing thermometers (online, in excel) to explain the different temperatures, from the freezer to the fridge through the danger zone and to a safe internal temperature for cooked chicken. It was very fortuitous that my son, Oliver Hay, returned from his superyacht chef adventures last year and could apply his computer systems engineering skills to help train us and our students how to learn in the digital world.

I am also very happy that we have been able to pivot and offer the Certificate in NZ Wine as an online micro-credential for people to join, from their homes around the country, as we taste the wines together while learning about our palates.  I do include a section on New Zealand's Wine History: from James Busby (resident of the Treaty House at Waitangi and co-author Ti Tiriti) who planted grape vines and made wine at Waitangi. Other lead players include phylloxera, Romeo Bragato, the Dalmatian winegrowers of West Auckland and on to the business innovation that has created a $2B export earner for New Zealand. This is a very impressive story.

Some of you will know that I am a history graduate and I do feel strongly that we need to learn so much more, and the Covid world have given us time to reflect, about our New Zealand history but also to think about the role of food and ingredients in shaping New Zealand's economic success to date. In fact when you look back to 3000 BC and the ancient Sumerians in Mesopotamia (Iraq) who invented writing, or the Persian or Greek or Roman or Byzantine empires, many, many of their success and disputes, over millennia, were just about food and trade.

It's time to read more history...


Celia Hay with NZ Wine Guide2   Gourmand Sticker


I am thrilled with the news that the New Zealand Wine Guide 2nd edition is the winner of the Gourmand Awards competition for Wine Tourism and Wine Photography.  

The Global Awards will be announced in June.

Read the full story here.


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Gain the WSET® qualifications while studying the NZ Certificate in Professional Wine Knowledge Level 5 (over 12 weekends) or  Diploma in Professional Wine Management Level 6  online & classroom-based teaching programme, spread over 2 Semesters.

Students will gain a thorough understanding of international wines and spirits  along with destination and digital marketing concepts, business knowledge and sales and communication skills. 

Free Fees and Student Loans available.

Semester 1: 17 April - 11 October 2021 (Level 5)

Semester 26 November 2021 - 24 April 2022. 

Click here for more information.

Read more in this article by Joelle Thomson.

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Brownies and Cookies by Level 3 cookery students, Soufflé Omelette by Level 4 & Smoked Kahawai, served with freshly baked oat crackers radish, fresh Thai basil leaves by our Level 5 Diploma students. 

With some rapid planning, we managed to transform our programme to online cooking demonstrations with the students preparing their own dishes at their homes.

The flow of our timetable has pivoted to the patisserie modules as the ingredients are easier for the students to purchase at the supermarket (we are reimbursing them for this cost). Read the full story here. 


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This programme provides a comprehensive introduction to wine regions, grape varieties and wine styles that have made New Zealand wines famous around the world.

In-person (including wine tasting)

  • 17, 18 April (9am - 2.30pm)
  • 25, 26 May (9am - 2.30pm)

Online (excludes wine tasting) 

  • 29 June, 1, 6, 8 July 2021 (5pm - 8pm)
  • 7, 9, 14, 16 Sept 2021 (5pm - 8pm) 

You may like to get your bubble group together to participate in the course, allowing the cost of the wine to be shared.


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Class of February 2011.

On September 4, 2010 at and then 6 months later on February 22, 2011 at 12.51pm, our beloved city of Christchurch was thrust over by a series of devasting earthquakes.

Everyone living in Christchurch has their own personal story of this time; some of tragedy or heroism, others recalling small steps to help friends or family or strangers or even to offer emotional support to rise-up again after such challenges.

Read the full story on our here.  


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The world of wine is very exciting.

Learning more about wine can enrich your life in many ways - whether it be for career development, or to become more skilled at choosing wine to enjoy with friends. 

WSET Level 1 Award in Wines - Learn the language of wine, and become comfortable with aromas, flavours, structural characteristics and more! 13, 15, 20 April 2021

WSET Level 2 Award in Wines - You will learn about the major wine growing regions from around the world, understand their grape varieties and styles of wine as well as interpret their labels. 
29, 30 May & 5, 6 June 2021

WSET Level 3 Award in Wines - The class-room based course over 4 weekends ensures you develop a detailed understanding of the principal wines regions of the world. Starts 31 July

WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits - Comprehensive understanding of the most important spirit and liqueur categories; how they are produced and how they can be used as beverages and transformed as cocktails. 7, 9, 14, 16 Sept 2021

More dates available on our website. 


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The Programme Includes everything you need to understand the world of French Wines.
9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues
31 July, 1, 2, 3 Aug


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Have fun practising some classic cocktails over three evenings.
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm​

Mon, Tue, Wed
8, 9, 10 March

3, 4, 5 May


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Perfect your kneading and bread-making techniques with the support of our chef in this one day weekend course.
9:30 am - 3:00 pm 

Saturday, 27 March


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Discover the diversity of chocolate in this one day workshop, making lots of tempting goodies to take home. 
9:30 am - 3:00 pm

Saturday, 17 April


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Celia Hay

Celia is a qualified chef and holds the WSET (London) Diploma of Wine. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History, Master of Education (Distinction) and MBA Master of Business Administration from the University of Canterbury.

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The School

Founded by Celia Hay, the New Zealand School of Food and Wine opened its first campus in Christchurch in 1995.

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