The Windy Season

WE have bud burst:

The newborn leaves look like delicate butterflies on the vine. It happens so quickly – one day they look bare and after a warm weekend, the vines start sprouting.

Only on the top terraces, mind you, where the temperatures are about two degrees warmer than the lower terraces.

Which also means Smitty (aka Harry Wakatipu) will have to go back to the big hill paddock. I can’t take the risk of his developing a taste for nice, new, tender sprouting grapes, or The Massa, aka Colin Carruthers QC, will spraypaint a big sign on his moulting side – :”dog tucker!”. So the farrier’s coming tomorrow, and after that it’s up with the cows, and my trekking over the 110 acres each day to feed and catch him.

Today we also labelled the last 78 dozen of James Pinot Noir ’05. The ’06 is ready to release – we’re very happy with it, and think it might be even better than the ’05, so that will be labelled as soon as we’ve ordered the requisite number of capsules. Yes, our wines have corks and capsules – we’re old-fashioned like that. And we spend a bit extra to get good quality corks, too. But if you want to get some ’05 before it all goes (and bear in mind we’ll be holding a quantity back for cellaring) then get on to Simon or Amanda at the Martinborough Wine Centre, or Auckland’s Accent on Wine.

And oh, the wind! It’s a year since we moved here, and the start of the equinox is upon us. Today, 120kph gusts of nor’-westerlies. Poor Rowan still has around 10 rows of spraying to do, and every time he gets the tractor out of the barn the wind gets up, then when he puts it away again, the wind dies down. “I give up,” he declared, as he got the other tractor out and did some mowing instead.

But right now the wind is ferocious – snaking around the corners of the house, stealing the shoes outside the door and hiding them in the garden, ruffling Kete’s fur up the wrong way so she spends most of her time in her bed in the shed, blowing Taja’s ears out until she looks like a German Shepherd with brown fur and short legs. It’s all very distressing. The broad beans are flattened, the tape erected to keep Smitty out of the vege garden keeps flying away, and the cows are racing down the side of the hill, trying to escape the clutches of this mistral. It shrieks, it whistles, it makes mischief like a thousand wicked elves.

But it also helps to make wonderful wines.


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