When it comes to wine, it’s eyepopping how a small increase in how much you spend, even just an extra $5 a bottle, will open up a whole new level of quality and all-round wow.

Churton Best End Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 $47

Visit Churton in winter and you're likely to spend a lot of time up on a hill looking at "poo pits" and sniffing compost. The winter solstice is when owners Mandy and Sam Weaver choose to release their wines. "The earth is breathing in and then it begins to exhale, so it works with the rhythms we're trying to follow," says Sam. Barrel-aged, this biodynamically produced sauvignon oozes roast fennel, caramelised parsnip, dried herbs, lemongrass, basil, nasturtium and all sorts of niceness.

Sip with: classic fish pie

Haha Brut Cuvee NV $22


Brand new on the market, this fresh and fashionable fizz has lovely lemon-shortbread, macadamia nut and peach brioche characters, alongside a long, lean and ultra-crunchy finish.

Sip with: salmon blinis

Mills Reef Hawke's Bay Pinot Gris 2015 $18

The wine has that pinky-gold colour that indicates the juice has spent a touch of time in contact with its skins before the ferment. This not only gives it a splash of colour, it adds an extra layer of texture to its dry, nashi, quince and apple pie flavours.

Sip with: the oldest, most aged cheddar you can find. Preferably prehistoric.