Daniel sorting grapes during Owen Roe's 2012 Harvest.
Hello my fellow Owen Roe friends. Its been too long! I wanted to check in with everybody to say hi and to give you all a status update on my travels and work experiences so far. The 2014 vintage here in New Zealand has been a whirlwind of grapes, sleep deprivation, and joy. Harvest this year has been a challenging one for New Zealand wineries. Warm and sunny at the end of March when I first started. Followed up with rain, muggy temperatures, and more rain consistently thereafter. Mother nature has not been very forgiving and so most of our fruit with Waipara Hills had to get off the vine asap.
We've processed somewhere around 1,220 tons in 3 weeks with a day shift crew from 7:00 am - 7:30 pm followed by the night crew 7:00 pm - 7:00 am. Winemaking 24/7 "everyday all day long." I was one of the lucky souls to obtain the day-shift. Working with Waipara Hills winery is very fast-paced, always a steady stream of work orders and not much room for any time delays. In total, with the workload, there is only 10 staff members including the winemaker, Simon Mcgeorge, and his cellar supervisor, Vlad.
For the first week I had to re-learn cellar practices the way they do things. Even though I've had 3 vintages, prior with Owen Roe, at first it seemed like this may have well been my first. Once I found my New Zealand rhythm everything worked it self out.
My daily responsibilities include warm-racking tanks in a timely fashion, keeping up with the RDV guy, multiple inoculations in a day of press juice up to 40,000 liters, additions of all varieties, plunge-downs, and running around as fast as I can like a crazy person. The aromatics of fermenting juice in the cellar are wonderful lots of jasmine, ruby red grapefruit, and tropical fruits. The varietals we work with include pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot gris, and gewurtztraminer.
Can't wait to come home to the pacific northwest summer. Hope everybody is well and I look forward to returning back home someday soon.
-Thanks for sharing Daniel. We look forward to hearing more of your travels and having you back to ourselves!
Photos 3-4 courtesy of Daniel Hughes.