There wouldn’t be too many bottle shop managers who could say they have lived and studied at a winery … on an island no less.
Our Clayfield Sense of Taste manager Adam Whitehand completed his post-graduate diploma in wine science through Auckland University while living at Goldie Estate, on picturesque Waiheke Island, a 45-minute ferry trip from Auckland.
While studying at the winery, one of 15 on the island, he helped make merlot and chardonnay.
Adam spent two years working at wineries in South Australia. He assisted with the wine making of 2020 vintages in the Barossa and 2021 vintages in McLaren Vale.
He had plans of working a European summer in the vineyards when COVID-19 hit.
His loss has been Clayfield’s gain, with Adam bringing a wealth of knowledge and wine expertise to the job.
He’s only been with Sense of Taste for three months but is enjoying the experience. With three other boutique liquor sellers nearby, Adam knows the pressure is on to deliver a unique shopping experience.
“It’s a working progress but I want to make it the destination boutique liquor shop,’’ he says.
“The company does a lot to enable you to service your customers. Managers are made to feel quite empowered.
“I taste every new product before it goes on the shelf and I engage with customers, finding out what they like and maybe getting them to try something new in the realm of what they do like.’’
Customisation of products to the demographic is another key feature which sets Sense of Taste apart from the average bottle shop.
The Clayfield store has a vast champagne selection which caters for the large number of champagne drinkers in the suburb and surrounding areas like Ascot and Hamilton.
Pinot noir and chardonnay are also popular with customers. Adam says there’s a big trend towards lighter-bodied, full-flavoured reds – sangiovese, pinot noir and tempranillo – which suits our warmer climate in Queensland.
As for Adam’s personal preference, he’s enjoying Italian whites, especially a soave, from the Veneto region in northeast Italy.
Come and say hello to Adam at Clayfield Sense of Taste and ask him for a wine recommendation.
There are some good specials worth coming in for, notably the benchmark Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc, buy four or more at just $26.99 a bottle (normally $34).
Mumm Champagne is also on special, $59.99 for a single bottle or $53.99 when you buy four or more.
FAST FIVE WITH ADAM
FIRST JOB: At a fish and chip shop
FAVOURITE MOVIE/SHOW: Game of Thrones (Adam has a six-week-old son Antonio, so not a lot of time for watching television these days)
DREAM HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Rhône River
FIRST CAR: First and current car, 2004 Ford Focus
SPORTING TEAM: Adam hails from Geelong so, you guessed it, Geelong Cats