Hello beautiful friends! I’ve missed you, terribly. I need you to know I have been thinking about my blog daily, feeling overwhelmed with the amount of photos and stories I want to share – feeling so behind that it is hard to start writing again! But here we go, I’m diving in. I think the best way to start again is to share where I am now and backtrack where I have been as we go… And here we are, a few months later and in a different hemisphere. I would like to share with you, New Zealand.
Let’s zoom in a little to the South Island, into the central part of the southern region, to my new little home in Cromwell, nestled within the wine region of Central Otago.
In 1862, gold was found in the hills of Cromwell and gold miners flocked to the region. As gold ran out, the region became the center for farming stone fruits. More recently, vineyards have been dominating the landscape. The region of Central Otago has an extreme climate full of valleys carved by rivers up against desert snow capped mountains. However, this terrain has made this area a very special place to grow wine grapes due to the stony free draining soils of the valley. The king of the region is, of course, Pinot Noir, the reason I am here. As for the whites, there are several aromatic varietals being grown such as Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer.
My sole purpose of this new adventure in New Zealand is to work with a winery that I have been following closely over the past year, Burn Cottage. They are considered a younger winery in the region, located in the heart of Cromwell. Burn Cottage has 11 hectares of Pinot Noir (including a small amount of Riesling and Gruner Veltliner) that was planted in the early 2000’s and has been farmed biodynamically from inception. Burn Cottage also has ties to home in California, to a very inspiring winemaker by the name of Ted Lemon. Ted is the owner and winemaker of Littorai Wines located in Sonoma County and is the Consulting Winemaker for Burn Cottage.
And so, on January 1st, I boarded my flight, bound for Central Otago. Since my arrival, I have been working full time in the vineyard and recently, I have transitioned to the cellar to help prepare for the vintage. Over the past two months, I have seen the vineyard transition from flowers to green clusters, and now, to ruby red. You can taste that harvest is near.
I would like to share my days with you. For the last few months, I have been spending my weeks in the vineyards and my weekends on the road, exploring. The best part of being in New Zealand is having my best friend and partner with me, Mike! We flew over together and he is working at another winery just across the valley named, Akarua. Once our work week is finished, we have been hitting the road (on the left side ,that is) exploring as much as we can of this beautiful country. Please enjoy the following photos as just a sliver of my time here. Just to clarify, New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and to top it off, they make just as beautiful wines.
P.S. I am looking forward to finishing the story of my time traveling throughout France and Europe, along with a few extra adventures. Please stay tuned as we are getting our first pick of grapes TOMORROW from the Estate!
And just like that, the 2016 vintage has begun.