We are starting to feel a little settled in New Zealand, but moving to a new country is always a strange experience, even with no language barrier (excluding accents and slang!). There is always a period of adjustment as you get registered and set up accounts (phone, bank, insurance etc.) and it’s always a “chicken and egg” scenario… do you set up your bank account before your phone? As each one asks for the other for verification! We managed to get through all of that, and it helps with feeling settled.
One of our favourite differences between New Zealand and Canada is the fact that you can get wine in the supermarkets in New Zealand. This is perfect when planning what to have for dinner, and picking up all of the ingredients at the same time. During the Covid-19 lockdown (level 4) when only supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations were open, being able to grab a bottle with groceries is a luxury, especially while we have been living in temporary accommodation, and can’t get postal deliveries.
One thing we have had to adjust to, is the lack of international varietals and selection, such as at the wine stores in Canada. Obviously given New Zealand's low population, and geographic isolation, the supermarket wine selection is 98% New Zealand & Australian. They tend to have large selections for the following varietals: Pinot Noir, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc (obviously a massive selection here!) Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris. There are obviously some exceptions, like rosé, sparkling, and blends, but they are few, and mostly local. Within these categories, the selection tends to be quite good, but is weighed quite heavily towards the larger wine conglomerates, who have the ability to supply to large supermarket chains. This helps keep the prices quite reasonable, and there are some excellent choices available. We have quickly found some great “go to” wines.
One of the other things we like about supermarket wine shopping in New Zealand are the frequent sales. It seems to be across the board, and lots of selection each week for some very interesting wines, with great reductions. Having previously maintained a cellar in Canada, it’s a strange thing to be picking up wines to be enjoyed in the near future!