Friday, May 28, 2010

Olive Harvest 2010

Yesterday brought not only the first snow to the hills around the winery, but also the first day of our Olive Harvest for 2010. First to be harvested were some Leccino and Pendolino, followed by some Frantoio this morning.

Here Colin is harvesting the olives from the trees along the boundary of our Home Vineyard. We harvest the olives using rakes which gently shake the branches of the tree. The ripe, healthy olives fall from the tree onto the nets we lay down. Any olives that have been damaged by frosts or birds cling to the tree - so only the best olives are collected. That said, this year we have been very lucky with a warm May, and the olives are free of frost damage.

Then we collect the olives which have fallen onto the nets below the trees, and take them to be pressed at Marlborough's community olive press.

The olives are first washed, and passed through a tray with large holes to separate them from any leaves that are inevitably collected.
Then the olives are smashed into a paste using a hammer mill - stones and all. This paste then passes through the malaxer shown above, which mixes and agitates the olive paste.

The olive paste then passes through a centrifuge, a machine which separates out the oil by spinning it at high speed, leaving you with beautiful green olive oil! The remaining paste of flesh and stones can then be brought back to the vineyard for composting.

This olive oil will form part of our Olio Nuovo, literally 'New Oil', the bright, fresh, green olive oil released soon after harvesting and pressing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Seresin Landfall Residency 2010

Alongside Otago University Press, we are delighted to announce New Zealand writer and curator Wystan Curnow as the winner of the second Seresin Landfall Residency.
Wystan Curnow is a writer, curator, editor and educator who has worked in the arts for 40 years, publishing 30 books and numerous articles, reviews and poems.
He will spend the six-week residency in Tuscany working on a book on prominent New Zealand artist Colin McCahon. Wystan says 'it is taking a bit of time to sink in - you don't count on such outcomes.'
Michael Seresin says the quality of the 2010 applicants made a final decision very difficult, however he felt it was important to support Wystan Curnow's latest work.
'The project that Mr Curnow is working on has an enormous amount of merit, not least because Colin McCahon is such a pivotal figure in New Zealand art. I believe we should contribute anything we can to get this work completed.'
Mr Curnow says 'McCahon was a friend of my family, my mother especially. As a secondary school art student I was selected for an advanced class at the Auckland City Art Gallery, taught partly by McCahon. As a university student I hung out with him at the Gallery and in the pub after work.'
Curnow adds 'my writing and curating of McCahon work is notable for shifting attention to his later language-based works at a time when his landscape work was preferred by most critics, and for introducing McCahon to an international audience first in Australia and later in Europe.'

For more information about Mr Curnow and the 2010 Seresin Landfall Residency, please visit our website.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tasting by the Moon

The moon and its rhythms has long been an important part of Biodynamics. It has such a huge impact on the tides - why not soils, plants, people, and wine too? Biodynamics aims to work in harmony with these rhythms as much as possible - spraying the biodynamic preparations on the land and plants when they are best absorbed, pruning when vines are at their most resilient - the list goes on.

UK journalist Jonathon Ray, from the Telegraph, has been asking whether the moon affects how wine tastes. Ray discusses how the major UK supermarkets are holding their press tastings according to the Biodynamic calendar, and finding the results convincing. Click here to see the full article.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Harvest 2010 - Raupo Creek Pinot Noir

After three weeks of post-ferment maceration, Clive decided it was time to press our Pinot Noir from the top of the hill on our Raupo Creek vineyard. This is the Pinot we hope will become our 2010 Sun and Moon.

Through harvest, Clive tastes each Pinot Noir every day until he thinks the wine is nearly ready to be pressed and put into barrels. Then the samples that Lindsey has kept each day are put into a line-up, and the winemaking team will taste the samples. Here some of the line-up is shown - from the earlier samples on the left, through to todays sample on the right. Once Clive thinks the wine has has got the best that post-fermentation maceration has to offer, it is time to press the wines to barrel.

The first step is to drain the free-run wine, which we hold in a small tank until the skins have been pressed. Next is the fun part - digging out the grape skins from the tank. This seems to be the job that everyone in the winery wants to do!

Today Kevin and Lars had the job of digging. Kevin moved to New Zealand from Canada several years ago, and each year spends harvest in the winery, and the rest of the year works in our vineyards. Here the two of them are in the tank digging the skins onto the chute leading into the press.

The pressed juice goes into the tank with the free-run juice and mixed before being transferred into barrels. The grape skins are then taken out to our compost piles to form part of our next compost heap.