Life in the vineyard shot off to an incredible start for the 2011 harvest! The hot temperatures from November continued for a while in to December before subsiding, giving us great conditions for flowering and in to fruit set. Our old vines are shooting everywhere so a fair bit of time thinning has been spent. The conditions for a quality vintage have been fantastic so far, so doing our bit to help the vine do its job of creating quality fruit will help if the conditions hold.
A most exciting few weeks late in November and early in December saw us make a somewhat radical move with delicious results. We weren't so happy with the quality of our Riesling, Gewurztraminer or Chardonnay in 2010, so we had a bit of a dilemma about what to do with all the wine we had made. We didn't believe the wine to be of a standard we expect in our Shaky Bridge label, so an alternative had to be found. The options are to either try and sell the wines on the bulk market, which we didn't want to do, or 'declassify' the wine and put it into a different label. We decided to do the later, so Dave set to work in the winery and we blended different portions of the three varietals together. After many trials we decided we had found a winner! The result is a blend of 55% Gewurztraminer, 30% Chardonnnay and 15% Riesling. I think we may be the only winery in New Zealand (maybe the world!!) who are blending these three varieties together!
Now that we had a wine, we had to give it life in a label. This wine is about as unpretentious as a wine can get so we went with a label that is as equally unpretentious..and BBQ White was born! We thought we had a decent tasting wine, but it was still a surprise to wine the 'BEST BUY' award from the winemakers and expert palates at TiZwine.com in January. This award is given to the wine in their themed tasting that provides the best bang for the buck, and with a recommended retail prie of just $10, this wine surely does that! The wine has been a huge hit at tastings and at the Cellar Door as well. This might be a one off, so get in while you can!!
It's always sad to see the snow melting and the skifields putting up the closed signs. Another season on the mountains is over..giving way to another season in the vineyards! Cool.
The Home Block had a good prune and we set to work on a new vineyard in the Earnscleugh region of the Basin; Terrace Vineyard. This is the first season we've managed a Pinot Noir block in Earnscleugh and we're looking forward to getting this block back in shape for harvest next year. A 'year off' hasn't done a lot for the vines, but Dylan and team will get the block looking great and ready for vintage in no time.
November saw some very hot temperatures that really kick started the vines growing cycle. One day we had a few leaves here and there, the next (at least it seemed like the next!) we had a full blown canopy that was getting out of control! It was hot!
We started to send out some new wines for review as Spring really took off, entering several media tastings to see how things would go. As usual, our Pioneer Series Pinot Gris tasted out exceptionally well and we were delighted at the 4-Star rating our 2007 Devils Backbone Pinot Noir received from Winestate Magazine. We knew this wine was drinking beautifully, but it's always a bonus to get that third party endorsement.
Our newest label, The BBQ Wine Co., was also sent off for the critics to have their say. BBQ Red is 100% Pinot Noir from the 2009 vintage and the wine received a 3-Star endorsement from the pros at TiZwine.com! Stoked. This is a bright, spicy, easy drinking red that, as the name suggests, is made for the BBQ and any grilling foods you love. The wine is made for the summer, picnics and good times and at the $15 price tag you can enjoy this red all summer long!