Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Time to tell you that even busy winery owners need time off!

Leaving Wellington on a cold winter day (about 10 C) we flew to Fiji for 3 weeks holiday. It has been great, as the accompanying images show - warm days (25-30 C) and mild nights (20 C). Very pleasant indeed! Unbelievable as it may appear, it has been hard to leave work totally behind, even though we have a very capable team at the winery. I think when one owns a business, it is almost impossible to totally switch off. It is almost like having a child!!

While we have been away, lots of things have been happening at work; the bottling process mentioned in earlier posts, finalising the 2009 wines and site developments. Most important of these is the sealing of our long gravel drive. No more dust in the café or cellar door, no more mud and potholes in winter and easier access for winery visitors.

To be able to afford to do this after 10 years is a real thrill.

I will include some images of the work in a future post. This improvement will help us sell the winery and cafe for more weddings and functions, an important revenue item for us. We hosted over 20 wedding in each of the last 3 years - all of which were great fun for us and the wedding parties

Monday, August 17, 2009

As mentioned in the last posting, while the final 2009 ferments are finishing in the winery, we are preparing to bottle the 2008 reds. That requires ordering cartons, screw-caps, labels and dividers from all our suppliers, then booking time at the busy local bottling plant. After that we finalise any blends, like our ‘2008 Martinborough Cabernets, and bring the wines up to the correct temperature for bottling. Like all liquids wine expands when warm and contracts when cold, so it is important to be in the right band to ensure the volume of wine put into each bottle is correct.

In 3 weeks we will bottle all the 2008 pinot Noirs (the Fraser barrel selection, the Blue Rock single vineyard wines, and the Martinborough regional blend) as well as the 2008 Cabernets. All require different labels, different bar codes, different size cartons and dividers, different colour closures, and different bottles; all of which is a huge logistical and planning exercise. Sometimes I wish we made just one wine like a lot of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc producers – bottling time must be much easier for them!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Maria's Birthday!

In the last week of September, we celebrated Maria’s birthday, as you can see from the accompanying image.

In a small company all members of the team need the skills, and willingness, to turn their hand to anything. Maria is no exception to the rule! She successfully runs our office and is the face of the company to the outside world – there is nothing she cannot do – tours, tasting, accounts, reception, and telephones are just a few. And, at vintage, she was responsible for the transport of grapes from the picking team to the press.

In the winery we are just about to blend the 2008 Fraser and Blue Rock Pinot Noirs, as well as the 2008 Cabernets (50:50 Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon). These wines will be released about 2 months after bottling, so they can recover from bottle shock. Bottle shock is the term given to wines just after they are bottled – the bottling line is hard on wines. Filters, pumps and vibrations all contribute to shaking the wine up and most take about 2 months to come back to their pre-bottling state.

For those following the saga of the stuck ferment, Carl has it working once more so we all are able to relax again, and look forward to bottling the whites on time!