Neill's Dry July pays off
It's not often you meet a vintner who doesn't drink but Neill Culley managed to work his way through Dry July without swallowing a drop.
The Cable Bay Vineyards winemaker raised the fourth largest amount, $5880, during the month-long nationwide online appeal for adults with cancer and blood illnesses.
Participants raised money during the campaign by abstaining from alcohol. Neill says a friend gave him $1000 to start with so “it was a real commitment”.
He was also about to turn 50 in July.
“It was a combination of things that made me do it.
"I was thinking about getting older and about people being struck by cancer.
"It can get anybody.
“I also have a friend on the island whose wine I make. He's such an outstanding guy and is having to go to hospital for cancer treatment.
"If the money can make it a bit more comfortable for people going through treatment it's got to be a good cause.”
Neill didn't even miss wine when he stopped. He sat through a Cable Bay fireside dinner and wine matching event and enjoyed it.
He sipped on water while 124 other punters quaffed fine wines from his vineyard.
John Hawkesby's mystery wine competition could have been a temptation but Neill simply eyed the 2006 Spanish Tempranillo and carried on drinking his flamboyant alcohol-free cocktail.
“I'll remember turning 50 more than a good bottle of wine,” he says.
And does stopping drinking help shed the pounds?
“I didn't lose weight but my waist got smaller.”
Visit dryjuly.co.nz to see how other participants did.
- Waiheke Marketplace
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