The Anchor Walberswick

Luke's New Zealand Vintage Travelogue   Spring 2014

After a 20-something hour flight, I touched down in New Zealand at 9pm one Wednesday evening in late March, to be met by Dr John Forrest, winemaker and good friend of the Anchor. After the handshakes and pleasantries, he surprised me somewhat with the news I was starting work picking in the vineyards at 3am the next morning. A rude awakening to the harvest Marlborough-style.

I was there for 5 weeks (using up all my annual holiday leave from the Anchor but well worth it...) to help bring in the grapes and press the new wines.

        

As you can see it was a bit of a messy affair, but what fun, a great team of pickers! 

In my first ten hours in the vineyards, we picked 80 tonnes of grapes of many different varieties, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Chenin Blanc up in Marlborough and later in the week we went down to Central Otago, where we harvested more Pinot and Riesling.

Depending on the varieties, we had to de-stalk the grapes, press and repress, drain off the juice each time and run into stainless steel vats or oak barrels. 

In 10 days, we had to bring in all the fruit across all the Forrest vineyards before the torrential rains arrived, which would have destroyed the grapes.

I had such a good time in New Zealand, great camaraderie with the pickers, fabulous hospitality from John and Brigid, what an experience...