20 Apr A glowing autumnal light at the end of the tunnel
Like most wineries around New Zealand, the turning colour of the leaves in the vineyard as autumn sets in marks the end of harvest, and the team can all let out a collective sigh. But at Sacred Hill this is a time we cherish most.
With the chaos of harvest behind us, we can rest easy knowing that the fruit we have carefully tended to for the last 12 months is tucked up in barrels and tanks waiting for the winemakers to work their magic, and turn humble grape juice into stunning wines that we will be enjoying for years to come.
Although our Vineyard Manager, Jill Payne, says “harvest is the most rewarding time of the year”, Jill’s quick to add “I relish the turning of the leaves in autumn, knowing all the fruit is safely tucked up in the winery”. Then Jill can head off on a well deserved break before it all starts again.
The idea of harvest being the most rewarding time is seconded by our Senior Winemaker, Tony Bish, who waits patiently for just the right moment to harvest the fruit, becoming best friends with the weather man while crossing fingers for perfect conditions.
The days are long, the sleep is short, but there is a heck of a lot of comradery as the team pulls together to make the vintage flow seamlessly – aided by a few midnight burger deliveries to keep the spirits high.
Autumn signals the end of this hectic sleep deprived time. ”It’s like coming out of a very long tunnel” describes Tony. The pleasure of two consecutive days off is met with the sadness of fare-welling a bunch of awesome vintage workers who have become great friends in a very short space of time. The ‘vintage-widows’ will finally see their partners again, and not at some odd hour of the day or night while they are in a complete ‘vintage daze’.
As the leaves turn red a calmness settles. The stunning autumnal colours flooding the soul with a comforting feeling, knowing everything is done. Now it’s a game of patience; ferments, racking, fining, filtering.
And while it all sounds a bit tough, it’s worth it. We’ll be back next year to do it all again.