Kia’Ora koutou katoa
I’ve just returned from a pretty sweet BBQ with my comrades at Wither Hills. I can understand how this may sound cliched, but I have to say my colleagues from all over the world are wonderful. Full of knowledge – some of the cellar hands have 9 vintages experience, others have worked their way up to assistant winemaker, some have worked in Piedmont, the Languedoc, Oregon, Okanagan Valley, Paso Robles, South Africa, Chile, the list could go on but I’ve had a glass or two of delicious vino… (I’m sure you understand). It’s not just the knowledge that blows me away, it’s how genuine these people are, as well as passionate. I feel pretty chuffed to be a part of this group.
Today it was great to get into our clans and get our hands dirty. Literally. Most of this wine biz ain’t glamorous people. I spent at least 4 hours today scrubbing bird poo off presses. Fear not. These presses are now sparkling. Which meant there were moments where I felt like I was on the set of Breaking Bad – all dressed up with a face shield, safety glasses (even under a face shield), gloves, boots etc etc.
Other highlights of the day were learning how to operate a press, and finding out what an O ring is. Such a simple thing, but oh so important. Especially when it comes to avoiding a beer fine* due to grape juice leakages.
*Beer fines are given to staff members for any ‘whoopsies’ that they may incur over the vintage period. For example, running in the winery incurs 1 beer fine. Overfilling a tank may incur perhaps 12 beer fines. These beers then provide the drinks for our end of vintage party.
I started the day slightly early so I could cruise up to the vineyards and introduce you guys to some of the land where this beautiful juice comes from. I hope you enjoy.