Jillian 14 – Wine Incident

March 28, 2015 | By Colin | Filed in: Our Jillian.

Jillian 14 - Wine Incident

(For the beginning of these snippets please follow this link.


On one of her return visits to New Zealand when she was a bit older, Jillian spent a bit of time in WINDY WELLINGTON. (Remember the visit we spoke of when she was a sales person?) Well it was about a year after that. You might also remember we talked about an earthquake when she was quite young? That was in NZ too as you might imagine.

This incident is based on her life 'In Country'  some time after that.

Jillian had a fairly large number of close friends. In-spite of her frequent musings to the contrary - she is a very like-able woman and has very many really excellent qualities that she is the last person in the world to recognize. As a coach, I am remiss for not chatting to her about this stuff, as it can make a nice life quite unnecessarily negative.

Another story for another time.

Getting back to this one. Jillian had an uncle who was a priest. He lived in the Hawke's Bay region of the North Island in a monastery which was attached to one of the great and famous wine making establishments of the area at the time. The New Zealand wine industry is still even now quite young, but growing rapidly. Grapes were originally brought to the Hawke’s Bay region in the 1850’s by Catholic priests for sacramental wine. And the tradition was continued. Catholics are always attuned to ways of making money for The Church, as Sunday collections can be very fickle and there is a huge infrastructure and many religious (clergy, and teachers) to be supported. So why not?

“Why not make wine for sale to the general public?” they said.

Her uncle was, as it happens, the chief winemaker. A great job. And he was very passionate about it.

On this visit he was VERY excited about a new wine they had released in the last month or so. It was a Red, but when she told me this account, Jillian couldn't remember the name of it which, luckily is not all that important to this tale. She remembered tasting it, she was not a big red wine drinker - at this stage of her life being more partial to unwooded Chardonnays, but she said it was one of the best wines she had EVER tasted.

Some tasting links for your perusal.



“It had a large Rosehip kind of taste,” she said, “mixed with Chocolate and a hint of Cinnamon. It was also creamy, nutty and buttery.”

Not sure where the rosehip bit came from, rosehips are the seed pods for roses and these have a tartness that, I think, she didn't really mean. Probably some blackberry taste or something like that. (Editor Note).

As a chardonnay lover, she was probably picking up on the toasty. buttery flavours and creamy textures; as malolactic conversion which is normal for red wines. is used in this particular style of white wine more then any other variety.

Anyway. Bloody hell I get distracted easily.

To cut a long story short she was enamoured with the taste of the wine, and all the palaver her ecstatic uncle couldn't help regaling her with. She remembered it all; at least for a time.

Later that evening, back in Wellington a night or so before her return home to her adopted country, she had a group of friends join her for dinner. 12 in all. This from a woman whose suitcases have a better life than her? Go figure.

They were about to order a wine. Had had a few loosening up drinks and ordered food. Main courses only - they were watching their weight.

Jillian could not believe that the wine that had almost given her an O@#$%, (my word not hers - better not say that here), was on the wine list. She ordered two bottles for the table, as a start, explaining the story I have just told you. Her Uncle? Remember?

As was customary, she was invited to taste it. She asked one of her friends to do the honours as she was so excited by this turn of events. As the delight on her friend's face quickly became a grimace, Jillian grabbed the glass.

The taste was unbelievable. Unbelievably HORRIBLE. Only about 4 hours ago our Jillian had been tasting this wine and discussing its merits with the actual winemaker.

Very politely, she imparted this information to the waiter.

"Oh, I don't think there could possibly be anything wrong with this wine, Miss. It is only new and has just been put on the menu." he expostulated.

"Well, it is most definitely NOT what I was drinking this afternoon," she almost yelled.

A quick reality check of the bottle revealed we were talking about the same wine, same winery, and blow me down if Uncle's name was not on the bottle as winemaker.

"There." She said. "I was with HIM this afternoon (pointing repeatedly at the label), and this does not taste anything like the wine we were drinking. So please, if you are not prepared to replace it; can we talk to the manager?

The waiter brought the owner to the table. His misogynistically horrendous first statement - that the wine was fine and how would a woman know anything about wine anyway - was the final straw.

"OK, girls." she said. "This pig of a man has served us 'off' wine and now he has the temerity to insult me in front of my friends. I know another restaurant just a few doors down. Let's go there."

As one, they rose, fuming for Jillian, and turning towards the door - walked out. Jillian, like a General leading her army, led the troops forward; and they moved 'en masse' to the place down the road.

To add to the moment Jillian saw waiters bringing out the meals as they disappeared out the door.

Is there a moral here?


More than one I reckon.

  1.  Think about the consequences of your words and actions. (1 bottle of wine v's 12 full meals?)
  2. Listen to what people are telling you.
  3. Never judge, in particular using stupid stereotypical unsubstantiated beliefs
  4. Be polite and always remember ‘respect’.

Funny just the same? You go girl. Jillian the great.


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