Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Zealand Wine Dinner

In a country where the vast majority of the population (and the rulers) are Muslim and don't drink alcohol, we figured one of our favorite pastimes (Wine dinners) would be on hiatus while living here. So, I was thrilled to find an invitation to a wine dinner in my inbox. There is an Abu Dhabi Wine Society in town that organizes events like this and I ended up on their mailing list.

The wine dinner had three main goals. 1) to raise money for the Christchurch earthquake victims, 2) to introduce a new winery's wines to Abu Dhabi, and 3) to welcome and introduce the newly arrived New Zealand Ambassador. It was sponsored by GMP, which is one of about 3 liquor stores in Abu Dhabi and hosted at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. The winery featured was Spyglass Winery, which is located in the Marlborough area of New Zealand (we had visited that region before, but not this particular winery).

Since the legal limit for alcohol while driving is 0, we decided to take a taxi to the event. We arrived and were early (typical American trait I'm told, but unique for a Stoll ;) so were seated at the bar and offered some really nice white wines - also from NZ, but not from the featured winery. We had a fun time just people watching as others arrived. As you can imagine, it was all expats - American, British, lots of NZ, Australian, probably South African. Such a difference to see so many Westerners in one place at once since outside an event like this, we make up maybe 10% of the population. What's nice at these kinds of events is that it's easy to start a conversation with anyone because you can always fall back on "Where are you from?" or "How long have you been in Abu Dhabi?" This always generates at least 10 minutes of conversation while you each swap stories of how you ended up here.

Once most arrived, we were seated at our own table by the window - a prime table and we were told it was because we were some of the first to arrive! :) There was a short introduction about the event and the Ambassador said hello and then we started in with dinner. Dinner was good and the wines were good also. We had a nice pumpkin soup, a cheese tart, duck for the entree and a nice dessert. The wines went well with the food and we really liked two of the red wines. You could purchase the wines at the event for a discount, so of course we had to take advantage of that offer! We also signed up for the wine society so we're sure to get their newsletter and invites to all future events. It was a great evening and so nice to know events like this happen in AD.

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