Nigel’s harvest blog

Friday 27th March 0610

Drinking coffee in the pre dawn dark and clearing out my inbox while I’ve got the chance. We didn’t pick yesterday, the weather had stayed cloudy and threatening, then, in true Central style, the skies cleared as we ate lunch and by 5pm it was roasting. Game on this morning and into MacMuir. We may get a chance to pick Saturday before rain heads in, but Sunday will definitely be rained off, maybe Monday too. Other than a front sweeping through on Good Friday it looks set fair for the week. 

An unexpected diversion at Wanaka airport: NASA are launching a near space balloon the size of a stadium. I stopped to see if it was imminent, but they were taking their time and the pickers will be already on the fruit, so I had to abandon the launch. 

First fruit comes in at 9.30: Clone 943 from MacMuir: looks gorgeous and tastes that way as well. Swordfish, pumpkin and mango curry for lunch, so hope that’s tasting as good.

Thursday 26th March 2015

This is the last day before we start. A final clean down of the fermenters, washing a year’s dust from the picking bins, running all the pumps, the press, the de-stemmer, to see if a year of disuse has caused any issue. The weather has turned sullen and grey, not raining, but with a continual threat in the sky. The forecast ahead is mixed, but I’d rather cool weather than a heatwave. We’ll kick off in MacMuir, our first ever harvest there and an exciting idea from Blair. In the past we’ve sometimes made a Vin Gris: a "white" Pinot Noir, using free run juice from the fermenters of what will become red wine. But the young vines give us the possibility of taking some Pinot and whole bunch pressing it to make Vin Gris that isn’t a by-product, rather a true "blanc de noir". That enables us to choose a slightly earlier and fresher pick than we can with red wine Pinot as we don’t have to consider the tannin ripeness of the fruit to make a white wine. Will it be white or a pale salmon? We just don’t know, this will be the first time we’ve ever made a Pinot this way.

Yesterday I dug a couple of rows of potatoes, Pink Fir Apples; the best of our varieties. Two goat’s are hanging, ready to butcher, having met Mr Smith and Mr Wesson yesterday. Lamb with crispy couscous for lunch today, and an idea for a pomegranate, rosehip and mint raita to go with it. 

I tasted through the 2014’s on Tuesday with Blair. Very exciting wines, I cannot remember a vintage quite as special. When you have something like that to take to market, it makes the whole year ahead feel special; a chance to show everybody what these vineyards are capable of. 
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