Bannockburn fruit arrives, digging out … and sad farewell
Snow had arrived down in Central Otago, up on the mountain caps, and the fruit was ready to pick in the vineyard – the Riesling and the Pinot Noir. Samples had been sent up regularly to John and the team to assess, and come Sunday afternoon the handpicking started. All Monday and all Tuesday it continued, with 34 bins arriving at Forrest at 6am on Tuesday morning and 39 bins on Wednesday morning.
The Pinot Noir – all three clones of 777, 667 and 115 – were looking tip top, healthy, ripe. The Riesling had a touch of rot here and there, but Dave wasn’t worried, that would “all come out in the wash”, so to speak. They were expecting it from thin-skinned Riesling.
The grapes arrived by lorry in the individual bins and each of those had to be weighed before they were put through the destemmer. A few were kept whole bunch and added to a couple of the vats to bring more fruitiness to the blend through carbonic maceration.
Meanwhile, it was time for some of the Marlborough Pinot Noir to come out of tank and be put into barrel. First the wine is drained off and put into tank, then the residual solids – skins, pips, lees and so on – are dug out. And ‘sweetly’ Beth said no vintage experience would be complete without a dig out. Yes, it was my turn to get back into the tank and dig it out. Well, I hadn’t done one since leaving the Barossa.
Just as a ‘bonus’ the Wall Street Journal were at the winery doing an article on Forrest Wines, so the experience was documented. Not only by the professional cameraman, but John also had to get a few shots in too!
With a door at the bottom of the tank, it was a whole lot easier shovelling out than it had been in the Barossa at least.
And it was good to get my hands dirty again!
Big thanks to everyone at Forrest Wines in New Zealand for making me so very welcome indeed. It’s been a really great experience. I’ve learnt a lot, particularly from the great man himself, and had a thoroughly fab time.