Friday, November 25, 2011

Last Sunday, 20th of November celebrated 20 years of Toast Martinborough.
It was a beautiful day with over 11,500 people sharing good food, wine and music with the region's wineries.
A wonderful day was had by all at our Toast Martinborough site this year. The crowd was huge and well behaved, the music great, and the food from Guten Apetit Catering was fantastic. 
Sadly at other locations a small minority spoiled the day for some, through over-indulgence. That we had none of that on our site shows just how well organised it was. A lot of the credit for the organisation of a very professionally run site must go to Nicola, a valued member of the Murdoch James team. And what better way to show our appreciation than with flowers!!!
We had several acts on stage, including the Thomas Oliver Band and Ladi6, and estimate over 50% of the total crowd joined us for at least part of the day. Like all festivals we had the crowd come in waves and at times the challenge was being able to serve them all in a timely manner. We were very quiet in the morning, when the crowd followed tradition, by starting at TK, then very busy mid-afternoon, then quiet again late afternoon as the festival goes moved on to other wineries to close out the day. At the busy times, Nicola's systems played their part.
It is hard to spell out in words what a terrific day Toast Martinborough is; the pictures tell a better story. Even better still, come next year, and see for yourself. But you have to be quick - tickets can sell out in less than half an hour after release!!
And for those folk who gave us feedback on what we could do better next year, rest assured we have taken the comments aboard.

Monday, November 14, 2011

They tell me it will look good when finished!

New Grand Entrance (to be) 
Many of you have asked for more information on what we are doing with building extensions and landscaping.

There are quite a few things under way. The tasting room is being extended to cater for the increasing number of visitor who join us for tastings or the incredibly popular 'Grape to Glass'tour. As part of that building project we are also constructing a new grand entrance, so that the first impressions when folk drive up to the winery is both welcoming and attractive. There is also a big deck (almost finished) being built outside the tasting room so tasters can relax and taste in a pleasant location. We will equip the deck with comfortable tables and chairs so tasters can sit and order a platter to enjoys as they do their tasting. With a weather forecast of a long, hot summer to come, I am sure the deck will get plenty of use.

New Steps Up Cliff
Then there is a big project of landscaping down the cliff in front of the restaurant. We are building rock retaining walls, steps, planting new shrubs, building a bridge - the list goes on. The stairs down the cliff are going to look simply stunning: huge cut macrocarpa timbers, in-filled with exposed aggregate, and lit at night. The bridge across the creek will make the lower vineyard area an even more attractive location for weddings and events.

At present the site looks like a construction zone, and as wedding season is almost upon us I am as nervous as our brides that it all be finished on time. I am assured by our builders and landscapers that it will be, but no rain please weather gods!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Amazing happenings at Murdoch James Estate

There are exciting times ahead at Murdoch James Estate.

New stairway down cliff under construction
We have recently purchased an adjoinging vineyard which now takes us up to 38 hectares of planted vines, and are building a new winery. Plus we are undertaking a major landscaping project to make the site look even more appealing to visitors. We have the goal of becoming New Zealand's best winery experience when people visit for our restaurant, tours or just for wine tasting. There is a big new deck going in, the cliff in front of the restaurant is being terraced and the entrance drive has been upgraded.

I can hear a few of you thinking "What on earth is Roger and the team at Murdoch James doing? There is a lot of unsold wine in the world, prices are low and most wineries are tightening their belts at present!"

New rock wall and fence at entrance
There are two parts to the answer. Firstly, we are expanding because have worked hard on exports and are now shipping ever increasing quantities of wine overeas, including to China where we have excellent contacts through our new owners.

And secondly, because our tours and restaurant are now often fully booked as word-of-mouth spreads the news on just how good an experience it is to visit Murdoch James Estate and to join with us as we share our love of food, people and wine.

If you live nearby and have not visited in a while, it is time you did - come and see what we are up too. Think about trying one of our 'Grape to Glass' tours for some quality time with us.