It’s the time of year when we all get a spring in our step, a lift in our hearts.
Perhaps it’s the effect the lambs and calves have on us, or the warming sun on our backs.
Perhaps it’s because we get a bit of daylight at the end of our working day, or because the birds are chirping early in the morning.
For whatever reason, we’re stoked that spring is finally here, and winter is pretty much behind us.
It’s been a solid few months of winter activity in the cellar at New Zealand Wineries; blending trials, fining trials, blending, filtering, finishing the wine, and eventually getting it down the line and into the bottle.
The memories of harvest with its smells and sounds, chaos and laughter, organised panic and great results… none seem that long ago, but the raw product that creates our harvest memories is now in bottle.
The bottles tuck themselves into our lives in a number of ways. We take them to dinner parties, we purchase them at the supermarket for a mid-week drop. We select a special bottle from a wine list when we go out for dinner.
As the days stretch out, we will be enjoying even more of what we make, as the menu changes from hot tummy warming meals with a mouth filling Pinot Noir, to a Sauvignon Blanc with fresh seafood and the asparagus season which will be here soon.
And it’s not just the humans and animals who are expressing the joys of the turning of the seasons.
Bud burst has stamped its mark in the vineyards, as Pinot Noir led the way, and the Sauvignon Blanc will soon be bringing up the rear.
Green shoots are starting to appear, creating the nest egg on which the fruit will eventually set.
So, at the moment things are rather jovial around the Marlborough region.
In the vineyards the vines are waking up, while in the wineries the worst of the cold is over, and it will soon be time to start bottling some more Pinot Noir, some Chardonnay, and carrying on with the aromatics.
But in the back of everyone’s mind is that dreaded F word. Frost.
Its fate is inevitable. One never escapes a spring without frost, especially those in the wine industry.
Frost fans, helicopters, spraying the vines with water. Many measures, much hope, and plenty of crossed fingers and toes.
The whirr of the fan or the chopper blade in the dark hours of morning is common sound for spring time here.
Frost alarms will chime and sleepless nights will feature, as will anxious and nervous moments.
But, as sure as death and taxes, the frost season will come to an end. The air will thaw out and fruit will start to form with confidence, free of threat of the F word.
In the meantime, don’t put your gloves away just yet, because those valves on the tanks are very tricky to open when covered in ice.