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Wellington is a city full of colour and personality, and the hospitality scene is as much about the people behind our world famous coffee, fine wine and gourmet peanut butter, as it is about the goods themselves. Here are some of the folks responsible:
It’s all about the little touches for Shayne and Poppy Hammond at their intimate vineyard, Poppies Martinborough in Wairarapa. Corks are used over screw-top in a bid to keep the romance alive in the wine industry, and you can most often find the pair both warmly welcoming guests to the cellar door themselves. Poppy manages the wines, while Shayne manages the vines – so the insight you get at a tasting is often direct from the makers themselves. Be sure to swing by their stylish vineyard – particularly famed for its rosé – for a tasting, delicious local seasonal platter, and to soak up both sun and scenery.
As 2013’s fifth best barista in the world, Director of Flight Coffee, and all around good guy, Nick Clark has had his hands full over the last few years establishing one of Wellington’s most reputable coffee brands. When he’s not expanding his ever-growing empire (plans to open in Australia are under way!), Nick can be found enjoying his favourite spots around the city. Read his guide to the top spots around Wellington.
Adding more colour and personality to the already vibrant Havana Bar is a tough ask, but if there’s anyone up to the challenge it’s general manager, Holly Gulliver. Originally from Australia, Holly fell in love with the ‘coolest little capital’ on a weekend break to the city and that was that. For the last seven and a half years, Holly has been a fixture at Havana Bar, keeping the colourful cottages serving the delicious tapas, fresh cocktails and entertaining live music the restaurant and bar is so well-loved for.
When Roman Jewell announced that he was giving up his career in law to make peanut butter, everyone thought he was... well, nuts. Today, Roman and wife Andrea produce their artisan peanut butter, Fix & Fogg, in a small factory down one of Wellington’s central laneways. Their peanut butter is available in four tasty flavours: Smooth, Super Crunchy, Smoke & Fire, and the latest addition, Dark Chocolate.
Graham Joe loves ice cream. So much so he’s made it his business. He’s the owner of Gelissimo Gelato, an award-winning gelateria on Wellington’s waterfront. Before turning his hand to gelato, Graham worked in IT. These days, though, you’ll find him at the end of a scoop encouraging punters to give their more innovative flavours a whirl – gorgonzola, Anzac biscuit and most recently, a pavlova-inspired glow-in-the-dark gelato, made especially for Wellington’s LUX Light Festival.
Antonio’s official title is rather impressively Cavaliere Antonio Cacace, but the title he is known best for in the Wellington region is the provider of fine Italian food. Antonio saw a gap in the market when he arrived in Wellington in the early 90s and didn’t hesitate to establish La Bella Italia in Petone, a short drive from the central city. Bursting with the passion and hospitality Italians are so well-known for, La Bella and Antonio have become firm favourites in the hearts of Wellingtonians.