23
Apr
09

Time warp

This week seems to be flying by and we have to keep checking what day it is!

Aaron and I continue to be ‘ships in the night’  – passing each other in the doorway as he heads to work or bed.   The week began with the online Twitter launch of our Black Pearl Pinot Noir.   It was well received and the experience enjoyed by all  those who took part –  we are certainly keen to do more twitter tastings in the future.  Thanks to a great post from our twitter friend, Bron, an excellent sum up can be viewed here.  

Tuesday was another big day as our fruit was harvested.  Fortunately we had perfect weather conditions leading up to harvest day and the quality was pleasing and promising for the wine to come.     Aaron is still working 14 hour night shifts every night and both the Black Pearl launch and the harvest have seen him awake during many of his precious daytime sleep hours.   I tried to enthuse him with the news that the end is in sight and post vintage parties are currently being planned…he responded that his only wish right now would be to have a catheter inserted and be left to sleep for a week!  However, he tells me that the volume of grapes coming into the winery has reduced a lot in the last few days, with the last vineyards now being harvested.  However, they will be back-logged with the processing of it all (particularly filtering)  for a little while yet.    

Yesterday I saw some excess grapes being harvested onto the ground – it cannot be left on the vines to rot due to disease risks – and so there is yet another cost and a painful zilch return.  I also know of excess fruit being sold for as little as $500 a tonne to simply cover the costs of growing it (compare this to last year’s $1500 – $2300 per tonne!).  When I say ‘excess’ I refer to fruit that the wineries were just not willing to take on this year due to the problems of oversupply that happened last year.  2009 vintage will certainly be remembered as unique in terms of all the fiascos of the oversupply – but hopefully one where the pain was shared by all for the good of all and ultimately our niche wine market preserved.

Speaking of grapes on the vine, my Dad has offered us some of his excess Gewurztraminer.  It has been ripe for a few days now and Aaron reckons that if left just a little longer, it will have the makings of a great little limited release dessert wine.  If anyone is keen to come to Marlborough in the near future for a few hours grape picking – let us know (we’ll confirm the date asap).  There will of course be free wine and food on the day and a very generous discount on the eventual end product!

Life outside the wine world:  The kids and I took a short break to Christchurch late last week and returned Monday night.  As it is school holidays, it seemed an easier battle than the ongoing failed attempts to keep them quiet while Dad slept.  We stopped in Kaikoura a night to catch up with good friends and were spoilt by an unexpected visit from the endangered Hutton’s shearwater.  My friend Jodie works as the Biodiversity Officer for the Kaikoura Council and had a late night phone call from someone who had found one of these rare little beauties on the roadside.  It was a great privilege not just to see one but to actually hold it and release it the next morning.  The sight of it flying back out to sea for a second chance was nothing short of awesome.   

Finn gets up close with the precious Hutton

Finn gets up close with the precious Hutton

Hutton's Away!

Hutton's Away!

We had a lot of fun in the Garden City at QEII, at Science Alive, malls, movies and spending time with old and new friends.  The kids are still getting over the sight of me at QEII  in hired togs rolling around like a whale in the pool – the midwife said swimming may help my breech bubs turn head down!  And you’ll be pleased to know that at my check up on Tuesday the baby is now head down (whether it’ll stay that way for the next 9 weeks is anyone’s guess).  Only now my iron levels are low so both Aaron and I are getting about in a state of fatigue.  I’m scoffing iron tablets and embarrassing the kids even further by gnawing on red meat and moaning about constipation every chance I get!

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6 Responses to “Time warp”


  1. April 29, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    “I’m scoffing iron tablets and embarrassing the kids even further by gnawing on red meat and moaning about constipation every chance I get!”
    Hilarious!!! Perhaps not so much for you, but I enjoyed that line!

  2. April 29, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    :-)- yes, not sure quite how I strayed from the writing about fine wine to my bowel habits!

  3. May 1, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Not so sure the over supply is simply going to go away and the prices jump. The discounts that have had to happen are affecting consumer sentiment. It’s been good that there has been such a cohesive response to the over supply. The issue now will be how badly have our major markets been effected. Essentially we only export to the US, UK, OZ and Canada. The US isn’t out of the hole yet and there must be a limit to how much the Australians will take.

  4. May 1, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Paul

    I agree, it is a bit of a wait and see game – particularly given the wine industry depends fairly heavily on its export markets. In saying that the industry has continually grown its markets and I suspect it will continue to do so, albeit at a slower rate. If we halt supply levels for now, demand should catch up – it’s just a question of how long it will take.

  5. May 2, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    So long as we continue to promote I think demand will catch up. I just hope we are not shooting ourselves in the foot with all the cleanskin action across the ditch.

  6. May 3, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    I hope not – time will tell. Have heard a bit of anecdotal evidence that there are folk buying up cheap excess fruit to try and sell as bulk wine, perhaps destined for clean skins – which defeats the purpose of the efforts to reduce supply. But then you can’t stop people taking an opportunity to make a buck, albeit short-sighted I guess it will only take a whopper frost for everything to change in a day – living off a crop is always unpredictable and that keeps things interesting!


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