Celebrating 25 Years – February 2024

It is 25 years since we started planting our vineyard. Each month we are reflecting on our journey and sharing some of our stories and our older wines. Last month we wrote about how we got started. This month is about what we did after Bill Brink, the wine maker who talked us into having a vineyard, died.

Planting pinot noir grapes for Blue Earth Estate

What do novices do when they are left a vineyard?

They take a deep breath, then go and ask for help. Our first step was to identify a winery whose wine we liked, that was big enough to want more grapes, but small enough that we wouldn’t get lost in a crowd. Martinborough Vineyard fitted that bill. Luckily, they could also see the potential in our site, and were happy to tuck us under their wing. They taught us. They sent their crews out to help us look after the vineyard. They encouraged us when things went wrong, and in those next few years, things did. They celebrated with us when things went right.

It wasn’t just them who helped us. We discovered a supportive wine making community in Martinborough. People who shared their experiences, their equipment and their hard won knowledge. And taught us so much about the fine wine this region produces.

Margaret filled in the gaps by completing a diploma in viticulture. We read, we researched, we asked lots of questions. But most important of all was trial and error. Like the time we took absolutely literally the standard advice about taking out shoots to space them evenly, without realising that when we applied that to the head or centre of the plant, we were taking out the very shoots we needed for the next year. But two years later we were back on track.

And slowly we fell in love with having our own vineyard. We admit there were a few times when Mike threatened to pull the whole thing out. But as our roots, and the vines’ roots, grew deeper, that disappeared.