Mice issue shuts winery cafe


A winery cafe in Queenstown’s Gibbston Valley has been forced to close because of a failure to meet hygiene

The cafe at Remarkable Wines is shutting its doors temporarily after council inspectors found “evidence of
mice” last winter and no improvement at this year’s July 15 food-hygiene inspection.

“The vast majority of areas in the kitchen were contaminated with mouse droppings [on] shelves, work surfaces,
cupboards, fridge and freezer seals, and food containers,” an inspector reports. 

Other hygiene problems included cloth hand towels – only laundered every one or two weeks - and no system to
ensure safe food storage temperatures.

“As a result of the poor levels of cleanliness and severe mice infestation,” the inspector “requested the premises cease to operate until effective measures are in place.”

Remarkable Wines owner Richard Guthrey: “I cannot deny there is a mouse issue.”

In summer, he says, he employs someone “to do the food – she’s meticulous in keeping the place clean”.

But since Easter, Guthrey says, “I’m only open weekends and we haven’t really been serving food - just biscuits and cheese and things like that.”

Guthrey agrees he couldn’t trade without fixing his hygiene problems - but it suits him to close until summer.

Anyway: “There’s a possibility I’m selling - I’ve got an offer to buy it.”

Other than Guthrey’s now-closed cafe, only one other of the 336 licensed food premises in the Wakatipu currently carries the council’s most dire D grading. 

This D score - officially “Unacceptable” - still haunts Queenstown’s Mandarin restaurant, four months after
Mountain Scene last reported food-hygiene ratings.

Official reports then accused Mandarin of “serious” food safety breaches, “a complete lack of understanding of
personal hygiene”, no safe food-storage temperature system, “numerous examples of cross-contamination”, dirty
containers, and staff washing hands in the food preparation sink.

Frozen seafood was also left outside for three hours.

Mandarin was put on “increased monitoring to remedy issues but also ensure public safety”, council regulatory boss Lee Webster said then. 

There’s been an improvement, Webster says: “The owners have taken good steps to improve the premises,
including further training.”

Mandarin still rates as D, he says, but they haven’t yet applied for a re-grade – “which we’ve advised them they

The council visits it quarterly to ensure `”there’s not a drop in standards”.