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A seat at the wine table

Ata Rangi Vineyard owner Clive Paton. PHOTO/FILE

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David Nash believes the time is now for New Zealand wine.

He committed his belief in our country’s viniculture to film.

The result, A Seat at the Table, captures the moment he thinks New Zealand wine earned its place in the world.

Nash co-directed the documentary with Simon Mark-Brown, maker of The Secret Life of John Rowles and The Catch.

Nash said he was captivated by wine in his mid-to-late 20s while working as an advertising creative in London.

He said there is “a moment in time happening where New Zealand wine is getting this critical acclaim on the world stage”.

“It seemed like the perfect storm really and I think the mass media are really just picking up on the story I could see building a couple of years ago.

“It’s all about timing and I think we got out there at the right time.”

The film considers how France’s position in the wine industry is being challenged by New World producers, and as a Kiwi wine lover, especially here.

Nash thinks that Kiwi wine truly came of age four years ago.

He said New Zealand wines had been considered strong, but not up to the French benchmark.

Things changed after a 2015 blind tasting hosted by the expert Farr Vintners company.

Some of the world’s most renowned tasters were at the London event.

They ranked chardonnays created by Auckland’s Kumeu River winery ahead of the top white Burgundies.

The film touches on the country’s early wine industry.

The lore is full of stories such as the tale of the Abel clone, named for wine expert and customs official Malcolm Abel.

The clone came from a single cutting taken from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Burgundy.

It was, legend has it, smuggled into New Zealand in the mid-1970s.

In true Kiwi fashion, the culprit was said to be a rugby player who had tried to hide it in his gumboot.

Abel recognised the sample, got clearance, and began cultivating it.

He died before he could see the success other vintners had with the strain around the country.

Makers such as Martinborough’s Clive Paton were so successful, later generations of the Abel clone came to be known as the “Ata Rangi clone”.

Ata Rangi’s Helen Masters, Andrew Nicol of Dry River and Larry McKenna, of Escarpment all appear in the film.

“All the great producers need a platform to tell their story,” Nash said.

“It all came together quite neatly in a documentary form.”

Nash will be in Masterton for the film’s showing at Regent 3 on September 1 for a question and answer session with Film Talks’ Jane Ross.

Masterton New Zealand Film Festival season schedule | Regent 3 Cinema, Masterton

Wednesday, August 28 – 8pm Mrs Lowry & Son.

Thursday, August 29 – 11.30am Amazing Grace; 1.30pm Non-Fiction; 3.45pm American Woman; 6pm Maiden; 8.15pm Les Miserables.

Friday, August 30 – 11.15am Yuli; 1.30pm Maiden; 3.45pm Les Miserables; 6pm Amazing Grace; 8pm High Life.

Saturday, August 31 – 11am Celebration: Yves Saint Laurent; 12.45pm New Zealand’s Best 2019; 3pm Peterloo; 6pm La Belle Époque; 8.30pm American Woman.

Sunday, September 1 – 11.30am The Biggest Little Farm; 1.30pm Maria by Callas; 4pm A Seat at the Table; 7pm Apocalypse Now: Final Cut.

Monday, September 2 – 11am Peterloo; 2pm Celebration: Yves Saint Laurent; 3.45pm Sibyl; 6pm Yuli; 8.15pm For My Father’s Kingdom.

Tuesday, September 3 – 11.15am Sorry We Missed You; 1.30pm A Seat at the Table; 3.45pm Brittany Runs a Marathon; 6pm Peter Peryer: The Art of Seeing; 8pm Non-Fiction.

Wednesday, September 4 – 11am La Belle Époque; 1.30pm Capital in the 21st Century; 3.45pm Judy & Punch; 6pm Sorry We Missed You; 8.15pm A White, White Day.

Thursday, September 5 – 11.30am Mrs Lowry & Son; 1.30pm Who You Think I Am; 3.45pm High Life; 6pm Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love; 8.15pm Judy & Punch.

Friday, September 6 – 10.45am The Biggest Little Farm; 12.45pm Loro; 3.45pm A White, White Day; 6pm Brittany Runs a Marathon; 8.15pm Ruben Brandt, Collector.

Saturday, September 7 – 11am Walking on Water; 1.15pm Kind Hearts and Coronets; 3.30pm Photograph; 6pm Portrait of a Lady on Fire; 8.30pm Beats.

Sunday, September 8 – 11.30am Ask Dr. Ruth; 1.45pm Halston; 4.15pm Helen Kelly – Together; 7pm Loro.

Monday, September 9 – 11.15am Photograph; 1.45pm Helen Kelly – Together; 3.45pm Beats; 6pm ga Whanaunga Maori Pasifika Shorts 2019; 8pm Who You Think I Am.

Tuesday, September 10 – 11am Ask Dr. Ruth; 1.15pm Maria by Callas; 3.45pm The Whistlers; 6pm Mrs Lowry & Son; 8pm Capital in the 21st Century.

Wednesday, September 11 – 11am Portrait of a Lady on Fire; 1.30pm Halston; 3.45pm Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love; 6pm Sibyl; 8.15pm The Whistlers.

Meet The Directors – Regent 3 Cinema, Masterton

Friday, August 30 – 6pm – Amazing Grace: Jane Ross of Film Talks and Mark Rogers of RNZ’s Nashville Babylon introduce the screening.

Sunday 1 September  – 4pm – A Seat at the Table. David Nash and Jane Ross appear after the screening.

Sunday September 8 –  4.15pm –  Helen Kelly – Together. Director Tony Sutorius and Jane Ross appear after the screening.

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