Sunday, September 25, 2011

'Moby Dick'

At Murdoch James Estate, we have one of the oldest if not the oldest, balloon presses in New Zealand. It is a Wilmes, made in Germany, and dates from the late 1950's we believe. This is not one of your modern computer controlled, hands-off, "press 'start' and come back later" wine presses. Our press needs an operator to be in attendance at all times to care of its every need. One well-known local blogger referred to it as 'Moby Dick'; a big presence, imposing, round and long, and somewhat daunting. I must admit, it certainly looks a lot like the great white whale. The name stuck and all our team now think of this wonderful machine by that name. 

But now 'Moby Dick' (thanks for the name to both Jared and Herman) is in serious trouble. The gearing between the electric motor and the press cylinder has broken and parts to fix it are not able to be found. Yet we are not giving up! We have started a global search for the parts.

But, like Thomas the Tank Engine, where Thomas's steam power was under threat from upstart diesel locomotives, if we cannot revive Moby he may have to be sold as scrap. And that would be a tragedy. Like Thomas, we want Moby to fight back too, and prove his worth. He has a place beside our new press to provide back-up. We want to save him and continue to use his talents where we can. Moby is gentle to the grapes when pressing, and as we have to be there all the time to tend to his needs, we can see exactly what he is up to and encourage the very best from him. 

 As to how can you help? Well, we hear every day about the power of social media to galvanise support for important causes. And, what more important cause than saving Moby from the 'harpoons' of the scrap metal merchants. If you know of anyone who might be able to help let us know. We will fly the parts in from anywhere in the world if they are in good condition.

Maybe you know of a relation to Moby who is past restoration, but could become a part donor and keep Moby alive for future generations? We are going to post on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to make sure we make every effort to save him, so pass the message on if you are motivated to do so. If you can help, call us at Murdoch James Estate (+646 306 9165) or e-mail me at We would love to hear from you!