“If you really want to make good wine…”

I learnt to dread, and welcome, these words.  They came from Paul Mason, our wonderful winemaker.  Over the years, Paul has walked through our vineyard many times with us and been an important teacher.  He emphasized that good fruit was essential to making good Pinot Noir, and each time he would point out something else that might make a difference. He would say “If you really want to make good wine then you need to …”  I’d respond “Really?  People actually do that?”  But once you know, and you are a little obsessive like I am, then how do you not do it?

Pinot grape green fruit pruning at Blue Earth Estate vineyard.

So we learnt to straighten canes and clip them in place to ensure we had an even canopy that would allow air to move freely to prevent disease.  We learnt to take out laterals so the canopy did not get too thick and we got the optimal balance between leaves and fruit.  Anyone who has grown tomatoes will know how tedious that can be.  We learnt to do a second or even a third leaf pluck on the cool damp years to expose the fruit to sunshine.  We learnt to be ruthless about dropping green fruit.  Cutting out bunches and shoulders that were behind so that the fruit that eventually went into the wine was of an even ripeness.  This was especially hard in the years we had small crops and it was disappointing to have to make it even smaller.  We learnt to look for early signs of disease and cut that fruit out and carry it out of the vineyard so it did not spread.  Some years every bunch had to be inspected closely.

In our early years, when we were growers for Martinborough Vineyard, we aspired to grow fruit that would be good enough to go into their top level Pinot Noir.  And we eventually achieved it.  With Paul’s advice in the vineyard and his wine making skills, when we started making our own wine, we managed to consistently produce highly rated wines.  And out 2019 Pinot Noir, our current release of Pinot Noir, is one of the best.  We hope you enjoy drinking it as much as we have had satisfaction in producing it.