Friday, June 10, 2011

New Beginnings!

What's new at Murdoch James Estate then?

Well, those that follow my blog will know, we are fully committed to sustainable practices, and to us that means more than just monoculture and industrial scale wine making. For a long time now we have partnered the grapes with sheep to mow the grass, and have run Angus cattle on our unplanted land. This year we are excited to have begun yet another venture in parallel with the vines. We have recently started to build a herd of Belted Galloway's. This is a very rare breed of Scottish cattle, a perfect fit for Murdoch James Estate and our Scottish heritage!!

These guys really stand out in any crowd. They have a distinctive white belt around a black body, a double coat to cope with all weather, and a really solid, low-slung build. We will be breeding and raising pedigree cattle that can contribute to the viability of this lovely breed. I would describe them as gentle giants - they have a great temperament, are happy on all sorts of pasture and can handle our cold winters.

Best of all, they look just great. We have started with a bull (Fidel is his name) and three lovely cows in calf (Fidel is the dad). Shortly, they will be joined by 15 more that we will be bringing to the vineyard from another breeder in the South Island. This herd will then form the nucleus of our new initiative. They are not cheap; cows can be well over $1000, and a good bull 2 or 3 times that, but money is not everything, and we are all very excited about this new venture. Photos of the new calves to be posted in Spring, so click and follow our blog, to be kept up-to-date on how they fare!