Sacrifices being made to the Weather Gods. The nets are on, rabbits and birds are under control and all that is needed is the long dry Autumn of cool nights and warm days that Central Otago is famous for! The big temperature variation while the fruit ripens is crucial for developing intense flavour, and that’s just what we need down here during the weeks prior to harvest.
The “team” will be back in again very soon for further thinning of the crop, again with flavour intensity and quality wine in mind. New Zealand wines are known world-wide for quality. It is our signature and is of tremendous importance in our positioning in export markets. Other countries may succeed with volume and low prices but that is not for us. New Zealand must compete at the very top of the price and quality scale. Bald Hills, like many New Zealand brands crops at low levels by shoot thinning and bunch thinning during the season.
The big news for us is that we have come away with the Trophy for the best Pinot Noir at the Sydney International Wine Competition! Our 2009 Pinot was awarded Blue Gold and Top 100 and was therefor eligible to compete against other superb wines for the top spot. Blair went over to Sydney to attend the Banquet. He was not certain of the top prize at that stage but he had a fair idea and was delighted when the announcement confirmed our expectations. Much celebrating ensued! You might remember from the last Newsletter that our 2010 Pinot Noir was also awarded Blue Gold, but not that Top 100 award to allow it to go forward to further tasting. Blair says we are “just hitting our straps.”
The good life at Bald Hills! The garden and the weeds are growing flat out with the regular rainfall we have been having.Trees and hedges are looking very established and the lawns are a lovely bright green. When hedges are trimmed and the lawns cut one hardly notices the weeds. One tree in particular that has done very well is a Robinia “Lace Lady”which obviously loves rain rather than just water. It is located outside the Tasting Room and visitors often ask about it.
We are eating beans, cabbages, sweetcorn and zucchini and have a glut of tomatoes! The red onions and garlic have all been consumed. Herbs are spilling over the paths, except for basil, one of our favourites, which does not seem to do well out in the open down here. A “relly” sends basil down from Auckland. We would love to grow egg plant, capsicums and chilli every year but for that to happen we would need a tunnel house (so ugly!) because of the short growing season.
The Blackboy peaches are now ready for eating, and the lovely dark red plums made a beautiful jam before the possums got to them.
Roses are still flowering abundantly after a short break.Today we picked a huge bunch of the lovely yellow “Friesia” rose, which looks marvellous in a jug for a short while before it drops its petals artistically over the table-top.
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Estelle and Blair