Skip to content

Third Family of Twelve Wine Tutorial for 2020 Announced


17th October 2019

Empowering leadership through enduring knowledge.

The Family of Twelve are up for a third wine tutorial.

“It’s hugely entertaining, educational and collegial” says Family Chair Paul Donaldson.

The first two tutorials attracted some of the best wine professionals from Australia and New Zealand. And the feedback was terrific.

The tutorial is now regarded as a pinnacle event in the New Zealand wine industry and all those working with New Zealand wine globally are encouraged to apply.

We don’t want people to be overwhelmed, the environment is convivial. And it is chance to taste benchmark wines alongside the Family’s great palates. Knowledge is shared, the food is spectacular, and you will remember this for a very long time. We promise you that.

It will take place over August 2-4th 2020 among the vines in Marlborough, home to four Family wineries.

The purpose of the wine tutorial is to pass on first-hand knowledge and the mantle of excellence to the next generation of industry leaders taking New Zealand wine into the future. The tutorial is open globally to those working with New Zealand wine in the spheres of sommelier, wine retail, wine education and wine journalism.

“The first two tutorials have given the Family not just enormous pride but the strong sense that we’ve created true momentum, forging an institution with a life of its own. As an articulate and very networked bunch the ambassadors created at the first two tutorials are spreading the word among their peers. We’re very encouraged by the interest and buzz within the sommelier and education circles and expect another superb field of applications for the 2020 tutorial.”

Paul says he is “extremely proud of how confidently our Family wines sat alongside labels from some of the world’s most renowned wine producers and again looks forward to pitching up against another stunning line-up of fine bottles from international estates of this calibre.”

Melissa Moore, of Australia’s Merivale Group head sommelier team and winner of The Family of Twelve Award 2019 says “The Family of Twelve Wine Tutorial is an incredible couple of days benchmarking the best New Zealand wines against the best of the world. We spent time with their inspiring winemakers to understand the why, where and how of their iconic wines whilst being surrounded by fellow like-minded, passionate wine people. I found the tutorial rewarding and very educational and I especially loved the lively discussion inspired by each wine. I can’t recommend it highly enough and urge everyone working with NZ wine to apply for a seat at the next Family tutorial!”

Stephen Wong MW, our 2019 tutorial external moderator, says the tutorial “certainly has to be one of the most exciting developments in NZ wine for our sommelier community.”

This is a world class wine event.

Applications will open shortly for just twelve wine professionals to join the unique two and a half-day wine tutorial. It will feature eight compelling workshops and three superb dinners, with Family members presenting a selection of Family wines alongside fine international benchmark wines. For the wine list from the last tutorial see

All candidates will be selected through a written submission which will address the question:

‘Why do you think you’ll make a good ambassador for fine New Zealand wine?’

At the conclusion of the tutorial one of the twelve candidates will receive the ‘The Family of Twelve Award’ for the tutorial’s standout communicator. To establish ‘The Family of Twelve Award’ all participants will be appraised on both the strength and persuasion of their communication and on their tasting ability. The winner will receive a dozen magnums of the Family’s hero wines for their cellar.

For more information please contact Family Chair Paul Donaldson: +64 (21) 848023 Email:

Applications open 1st November 2019 and close 17th January 2020.

For further information and to apply please visit wine-tutorial-2nd-4th-august-2020/ or contact Kate Pritchard

About The Family of Twelve

Photo left to right:
Timothy Evill of Lawson’s Dry Hills, Paul Donaldson of Pegasus Bay, Annie Millton of Millton Vineyards, Stephan Walliser of Fromm Winery, Karen Fistonich of Villa Maria, Judy Finn of Neudorf Vineyards, Clive Weston of Nautilus Estate, Aaron Drummond of Craggy Range, Pip Goodwin of Palliser Estate, Blair Walter of Felton Road, Helen Masters of Ata Rangi and Paul Brajkovich of Kumeu River.

Twelve exceptional New Zealand wineries, eight wine regions, celebrating fine wine and friendship

Our members are scattered the length and breadth of New Zealand but we come together to celebrate our successes, share our stories and knowledge. We also share a desire to create extraordinary wine. We’re New Zealand’s wine family, The Family of Twelve.

Founded in 2005, our vision is to nurture long term relationships with an emphasis on education. Our wines are as diverse as the flora and fauna of New Zealand – and so are we. We all have different stories to tell but with similar threads running through them – of travelling the world, pioneering something new and letting the land speak for itself to help deliver the very best of what wine can be.

Some family trees have legacies reaching through the centuries. Many are nuclear. A few are royal. Not this one – far from conventional, this is a family of wine families.

I have been writing a regular wine column for The Nelson Mail newspaper since 2000.

Unfortunately the column space is not big enough to include my thoughts on all of the many wines I taste. Hopefully this blog will fix that. It also gives me somewhere to archive the many columns I write. I will also include some favourite recipes from my dearly beloved who loves cooking and of course because wine and food simply go together. I will also point you in the direction of upcoming events and websites I think are great. Enjoy, Neil

Back To Top