Week one has passed and it's been full tilt for the Vineyard and Winery team since the first pick. Straight into 12 hour shifts, one beginning at 3 am and one beginning at 4pm, all of our international Winemakers are on site and the place is humming with activity, accents include British, Spanish, American, Japanese, Indian and Kiwi of course.
John is very happy with the quality of the fruit that is coming in, we have had parcels of our most premium Sauvignon Blanc destined for the Forrest and John Forrest Collection ranges and also some Pinot Noir. We have harvested one of our more exotic varietals, St Laurent, which this year will be the majority base of our Rose, something we are looking forward to and will give us a real point of difference in the market for Rose.
On Monday our office team and Brigid Forrest were out hand picking, we were at the Gibson Creek Vineyard where we ended up getting stuck into Chenin Blanc, we were instructed to put the greener looking bunches into the bins only, this was because the Chenin was going to be a trial base for our next Methode Traditionnelle wine, and the bunches left on the vine would be there to see if we can attract some Botrytis for a potential Noble Chenin, Chenin Blanc ripens later so it was perfect timing to be doing this, all the hand picking was followed up with a few beers and a BBQ at the offices.
Vintage does come with its problems also, it’s not just hard work, fun, great wine and food. During the first week we have had a couple of mechanical failures, things that you just would not know were going to happen until vintage begins, and often happen at precisely the time you don’t want them to happen. But with an experienced team and with Johns leadership these are often overcome, but finding compressors on short notice as we experienced, takes some serious commitment on the phone!
The crush is well and truly underway and things are going to plan.
Introducing our Cellar Hands:
The beauty of working for a smaller winery, especially during vintage, is you get to see and do a lot more hands on work than you might get to do at a larger winery, this enables us to attract some of the best talent to come to work with us.
Part of our team this year, we have 2 Spaniards, the first of our contingent is Arantzazu, she has worked in Marlborough on 4 other occasions, so knows how to work with our precious fruit. She is originally from Catalonia, and has worked in Rueda and Ribera del Duero. We are looking forward to the Spanish lunch we have been promised sometime soon.
Luke from the UK is also working with us this year, he works at one of our favourite gastro pubs in the whole world, the Anchor at Walberswick, England. He arrived in Blenheim at 9pm on Wednesday night from a 32 hour journey and was working in the winery at 4am the next morning, he looked a little jaded, but that is commitment right there.
More to follow next week on our international recruits.
John and Brigid still prepare breakfast and dinner daily for the team. John loves to cook, so it gives him a good chance to take a bit of time relaxing while cooking and thinking about the next days activities.