Arriving hard on vintage were our 110 barrels from Matahiwi – here on the front lawn – over $1 million worth. It looked daunting while they were still on the truck, but once in the winery, on the specially reinforced area reserved for them, they looked as if they were always meant to be there, stacked four high.
Everyone’s been talking up the 2013 harvest, saying it’s a perfect year, but I reckon it’s never a perfect vintage until it’s in the bottle. True enough, the night before we were due to start picking the Pinot Noir, April 5th, I woke up to the sound of the frost machines, starting up and down the valley. However, all was okay and we picked in perfect weather.
The winery worked perfectly. The first grapes to come off were some premium Pinot Noir grown for Rod Easthope, a highly regarded independent winemaker in Hawke’s Bay, and some specially grown for Cloudy Bay, who want to make a Martinborough Pinot Noir.
After their grapes had gone, our first grapes came into our new winery. The first to arrive went into a vat for whole bunch fermentation. Then the main pick went into the destemmer for ferment. Colin of course had the honour of tipping the first bin into the destemmer.
Simon Groves is our winemaker. He has huge experience internationally and in New Zealand. His “cellar rat” (who has actually also had substantial experience winemaking internationally and in New Zealand) is Geoffrey Franklin.
Rowan Hoskins, viticulturalist and vineyard manager supervises the picking, with Tony and Steve, and of course the dogs – Hawk and Whetu and Rowan’s dog Jet – help too.
And me? What’s my job now? Making lunches like a good kiwi girl. Sandwiches mostly. Buying pies, scones, muffins from Roger at Providore when I’m too busy with my journalism duties. I felt like my mother when she made food for the shearers.
Just over a week later we finished the Pinot Noir and the Pinot Gris. The Noir came in at 24.5 brix; the Gris at 25, about where everyone wanted it to be, ie, not too hot and alcoholic.
So far the Viognier and Syrah is chugging along nicely. We just want another couple of weeks of balmy autumn weather, then we can get them off, and hopefully say, Yes, 2013 is a very good year.