Stripping & Swimming!

Sorry this is not an X-rated post!  Aaron has in fact spent the best part of the week pulling off perfectly good bunches of grapes.  This is no easy task – it’s not so much the 30 degree plus heat and mundane nature of the task as the difficulty of essentially throwing away the dollars that hang from the vines.   All over Marlborough grape growers are doing the same.  There are two key reasons for fruit stripping: 1.  It looks like 2009 will be a bumper harvest again, meaning a fruit surplus.  If everyone ditches some fruit then wine companies should be able to take everyone’s remaining crop.  2.  Stripping fruit is believed to improve the quality of the remaining bunches of grapes, leading to better ripening of flavours.   

As you can imagine, wine companies have introduced strict formulae to calculate just how much must be stripped out.  Without these, there is an obvious temptation to take very little off, given that fruit is paid for by the tonne.  We are fortunate in that we manage both the vineyard and the wine-making for Fiasco so the only person Aaron has to report to on his stripping is me!  And if anything, he does far too much of it… especially after a few ales 😉


The Sav Blanc above is ripening nicely.  It’s hard to believe the vines looked so barren at the end of winter pruning and now they are a mass of green leaves with fruit galore.


I took the kids out for a twilight swim in the river that flows between the vineyards.  My folks have named their vineyard ‘Stembridge’ partly because a bridge divides the property and also because the name can be traced back to a Gifford farm once owned by ancestors in England.




It was  a special feeling to think of the all the generations of our family that have swum in this river and I hope it stays unpolluted enough for future kids to do the same.  This last shot is of Mt Riley taken from beside the river.  I have fond memories of climbing Mt Riley with Dad a couple of years ago.  I think I’ll have to take the kids up there next!


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