Building a New Winery

I am suitably ashamed that it is August and I haven’t blogged all year.

Enough said.

As All Black coach Steve Hansen would say, just flush the dunny and move on.

So here we are, it won’t stop raining, and we are building a new winery, a bigger one so we can process all our wine on site. At present our pinot noir and pinot gris goes off site to Masterton to be made into wine. It’s not that we’re dissatisfied with our winemaker there, it’s just that we now wish to have more control over the blending, when to pick, and be able to finesse the process more closely.

So we took the plunge, and decided to commence construction.


As one wit asked, “Is that the famous New Zealand sauvignon lake?”

Could well be, Steve, could well be. But in fact it’s the rain which hasn’t stopped since the excavators arrived. We removed partial rows of pinot noir (there’s a semi-glut of pinot noir in NZ at the moment anyway, so no regrets there) to site the winery beside the house. Because it’s just up from where I sit writing, I look out at the builders all day. Holmes Construction are doing it, the same guys who did our house, and it’s in the same style. Should be finished by Christmas.

But right now it’s a mudbath, as ditches had to be dug to accommodate the cabling, the waste water, the electrics, the phone lines, and the security lines. What a mess.


We’ve also taken out several rows of pinot noir up on the top terrace to plant some chardonnay. After touring Burgundy, specifically Chablis, a few years ago, we want to make chardonnay in the Burgundy style – elegant and dry, not big and oaky.

If nothing else, this will be exciting and challenging to try, and I’m sure Simon Groves and Olly Masters will succeed.

Speaking of Olly Masters, we bought several cases of Seresin Estate wines two weeks ago, after I had lunch in London with Michael Seresin and he opened a bottle of his superb Riesling. Olly is his consutant winemaker, and about to become ours. We bought Gewurtztraminer, which is a lovely dry Gewurtz, but still with fruit. We also bought the Marama (moon), Michael’s sauvignon blanc which would be the only sauvignon on the market I’d drink these days. I did taste some Greywacke (Kevn Judd) recently but was underwhelmed. Didn’t live up to the hype or his original Cloudy Bay – in my opinion anyway. We also got Seresin Riesling, which as I said is just a lovely, lovely riesling, chardonnay and Rachel Pinot Noir which is also great. Rachel was Michael’s mother. Not that it matters to me, but Seresin wines are all organic. Aside from that, they are fantastic New Zealand wines, not surprising because Michael Seresin is such a bloody perfectionist in everything he does, and all he owns or produces has to be beautiful to look at, hold, eat or drink.


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