Monday, June 29, 2015

I always get asked, "What's news" at Murdoch James?

Well, there is certainly some fantastic news to share today.

In an exciting development that reinforces Martinborough’s prominent position as New Zealand’s premier Pinot Noir producer, and our profile as a leader in the region, we recently announced that we are removing 10 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc vines and replacing them with Pinot Noir. In all, more than 25,000 vines will be replaced at a cost of over $300,000.
Chris Shaw cutting out the old SB vines

This is not a decision for the faint-hearted. Not only is there a significant cost involved; we also had to accept it can take up to 3-5 years for the new vines to return a full crop.

Does not mean we don't like Sauvignon Blanc; it just means we love Pinot Noir more. We will still be keeping around 20% of our Sauvignon Blanc vines, but the Pinot Noir plantings will nearly double.

Roger Fraser contemplating the change
The decision was made as we have not able to meet the export demand we have for Pinot. Every year we have to ration our customer orders. Against that background, using prime Pinot Noir vineyard land for Sauvignon Blanc did not make sense in either economic or strategic terms.

Easy to say that in the office, but when I went out into the vineyard today, it was a very emotional time. To see thousands of vines that have served us well being removed was heart-breaking.

What taking out 25,000 vines looks like
I just had to remind myself, this is the start of an exciting journey, where will capitalise on the strengths of our team and our terroir. 

Over the next three years we will tell the story of these vines, as they are planted and mature. So, watch this space for lots of updates.

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