Local wine champion

A degustation of wine delivered to your door.

Bridgette Cooney never imagined herself delivering wine to others on a mass scale but the former international flight attendant was so surprised by a glass of Central Otago white wine that she wanted to share the deliciousness factor with others. 

So, late last year, in between lockdowns, she founded Local Cellar. The concept is to sell interesting wines in six-packs to regular customers using contactless delivery that is not impacted by lockdowns or close contact. 

“The customers on our growing database can enjoy the delivery of a wide range of wines, often unusual bottles from brands they may not have heard of, often made in styles that they may not know of, which is exactly where my own inspiration came from.”

The glass that turned Cooney’s head was Maude Pinot Gris, a wine that took her by surprise because she had never tasted a wine like it before. 

Local Cellar focuses on a specific region in each delivery, then sources a collection of wines to express that place. Some come from well-known wine brands while others are from new, alternative or hidden gems that many people have never heard of. Customers are invited to complete a wine palate questionnaire online to create a customised case based on their individual preferences, which helps to create the ideal six-pack of wine for future deliveries. 

“I’ve always loved wine, but tended to choose by price or anything with a gold sticker on it. A few questions and Local Cellar figured out what I like better than seven ex-boyfriends,” says Gina, a Local Cellar customer.

The difference between Local Cellar and other established wine-delivery companies, such as WineFriend, Laithwaites and other similar businesses, is that Local Cellar is all – surprise surprise – local wines, which are 100 per cent New Zealand made and produced. 

“I wanted to create a space where people could have fun, relax and learn about wine as well as to champion New Zealand wines. The aim is to provide people with a selection of wines customised to their palates, so that they have the confidence to venture away from their go-to on a wine list or explore past the specials shelf at the supermarket,” says Cooney.

Accessibility is another key aim of Cooney’s.

“I’d like to take people on a journey into the unknown and try to tempt them to try varieties that they would normally turn their noses up at. A lot of us typically have a hang up about chardonnays being really buttery and this was my opportunity to show one variety with so many different flavour profiles,” Cooney says. 

“My work for Air New Zealand as an inflight service manager provided me with the hospitality bones and I have a background in sales, so this is an opportunity to try something different and create a brand where there was some space within the wine industry in New Zealand.”

Social media remains integral to the early days of Local Cellar. The winner of Cooney’s first online competition received a customised six-pack of wine, dinner delivered for six people, a quiz set, a glass pitcher, candles and a little something for alone time from the New Zealand female vibrator designer, Girls Get Off.

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