Harvest is somewhat like baking a cake; the individual ingredients are collected, and combined in an orderly and calculated manner to produce the end singular creation. If the ingredients are mis-matched or not at the correct quantities, the cake will flop.
The harvest crew for V16 has recently touched down at New Zealand Wineries, and the same ruling applies at harvest; there must be order and logic in order to produce wine.
The constant hum of the presses, the sloshing of the grapes, and the continuous banter coming from around the winery all hours of the day, could cause one to make an educated guess that things are now well underway in this year’s harvest.
By method of question-clad papers dotted around the smoko room on various fridges and walls, some members of this year’s crew have kindly shared their own thoughts and history to add to this year’s harvest tale.
In a nutshell, we have a colourful little melting pot of cultures; Italy and France, (where brotherly banter was expressed on paper) Portugal, Estonia, Czech Republic, England, various pockets of the USA, and Australia, and more.
The first impressions of Marlborough are ones of blue skies, wine and good people; a region promising and delivering beautiful walks and waterways.
Despite being early days, some members already have their favourite tasks and recollections of this year’s harvest. One person has shown an enthusiastic fondness for inoculations, while the RDV was the favourite of another crew member. Meeting new people and working under the guidance of some inspiring winemakers was amongst the list, as was wine tasting and barbeques during the first week. A well run induction process was another positive point to note.
“Working with people from around the world,’ ‘friendly people every day,’ and ‘new and interesting jobs,’ was on the list of early harvest stand-out moments.
Skill levels are always varied when 75 new harvest crew come on board. While some are brand new to the world of winemaking, we have previous experience from various parts of New Zealand, Oregon, California, Canada, Italy, France and Israel, just to mention a few.
Just like we don’t want our cake to burn, or be too gooey in the middle, we don’t want smoke and fire in the winery either, or tasks left incomplete.
Once the grapes roll in, they’re in. There is no ‘practice’ run, and there is no ‘having another go.’ But at the same time, people must be nurtured through the first few days, so foundations of good habits and confidence can be laid. Mismatched ingredients of people will lead to a giant pressure cooker of stress and fury, or jobs only half done correctly.
At New Zealand Wineries we proudly uphold our reputation of being a winery full of friendly and approachable faces, where questions can be asked with ease, and troubles can be effortlessly shared.
Harvest is a rollercoaster of fun, laughter, learning, tears, frustration, and joy, and no wine has ever been made without all these essential ingredients.
As long as the ingredients are accurately combined and nurtured along with science and Mother Nature, the harvest of 2016 will be guaranteed a tremendous one, as we go forth and make some really fantastic wine.