Wellington – make that New Zealand – will have never seen a cricket match quite like this…

On Sunday 27 January, the day before the Pinot Noir 2013 conference opens in the capital, a team of touring English wine celebrities, captained by Jasper Morris MW*, will take the field against a New Zealand Pinot XI at Kelburn Park.

New Zealand’s favourite acting son Sam Neill (owner of Central Otago’s Two Paddocks winery and a keynote speaker at the conference) has been cast in the role of guest umpire.

Pinot is the theme of the day; the different letters on the backs of the home team’s shirts will together read ‘PINOT NOIR 13’. Even the cricket bails get in on the act – they’ve been crafted from old oak pinot barrels.

The local side will be captained by Clive Paton of Martinborough’s renowned Ata Rangi winery. It includes the chair of Pinot Noir 2013 Alastair Maling MW (Chief Winemaker for Villa Maria), Steve Smith MW (Craggy Range), Christopher Keys (Gibbston Valley), Nick Lane (Cloudy Bay) and John Saker (Cuisine wine writer and author of Pinot Noir: The New Zealand Story).

Joining Jasper Morris in the visiting side will be UK wine scribes and personalities Dr Jamie Goode and Christopher Fielden. The latter was a friend and contemporary of the late BBC commentator John Arlott, whose career famously combined wine and cricket.

The limited over match will get underway at 10.30am. Helping Neill with the umpiring duties are two of Wellington’s finest legal minds, Sir Mark O’Regan (President of the Court of Appeal) and Professor Tony Smith (Dean of the Victoria University Law Faculty).

The triennial Pinot Noir conference in Wellington is the New Zealand wine industry’s biggest event. It attracts pinot devotees from all around the globe. This year’s event, Pinot Noir 2013, will extend to four days (28-31 January), taking over several venues on the waterfront during that time.


NOTE: Key conference personalities, eg Alastair Maling, Sam Neill, Jasper Morrris and others will be available for interviews at Kelburn Park from 10am.

For further information, please contact:

John Saker

Tel: 04 475-4222

Mob: 027 2498161


* MW stands for Master of Wine, not Wickets.