New Zealand Wine, It's Divine!
I love wine, but I am not a connoisseur, more like a devotee. I adore the color, the smell, the taste, but more than anything else I am drawn to the culture of wine. It’s the back story that interests me; the history and romance of wine production are fascinating, and I admire the hard work and dedication it takes to produce a bottle of this ancient drink.
All wine production begins with the raw material: planting, irrigating, tending and harvesting the grapes. It’s farming, and farming is not for the weak! This is especially true for the artisan wine maker, as they are not just growing the fruit but also producing the wine, bottling, marketing and conducting direct sales to the consumer. They don’t get much sleep.
When I go on a wine tour I like to find a small vineyard that will take me into the fields. I love to see the earth where the crop is grown, the rocky soils of the Loire or the red dirt of Australia. If you are lucky enough to get the right guide you will feel the affection they have for the land and devotion for the process. I hit the jackpot this September when I booked a tour with Greystone Wines in North Canterbury in the Waipara wine district. (Located one hour north of Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand). Greystone began in 2000 and just 16 years later was named Vineyard of the Year in the New Zealand Organic Wine Awards.
Organic is the operative word here because they use no pesticides or herbicides in the growing of the fruit and no additives in the production of the wine. This is a pure product. The tour we got at Greystone matched any wine tour I have been on in France. It was a unique experience in that our guide was also a wine maker in her own right. My two daughters and I hopped into her SUV, with a bottle of their 2017 Sauvignon Blanc in hand, and we headed out into the vineyard.
September is springtime, lambing season in NZ, and I was awestruck by the adorable lambs cohabiting with the vines. Ewes with their babies wandering in the vineyard is all part of Greystone’s philosophy of producing a natural organic product. Spring is also a time of great worry with the threat of frost lurking like the Grim Reaper until the earth tilts its axes to warmer days.
On this beautiful day, our first glass was a tail-gate style tasting in the vineyard, as our guide pointed out the techniques they use to produce this delicious Sauvignon Blanc. After this short stop we were off again. This time to view the workers in the vineyard manipulating the wires, training the vines in anticipation of new growth. Then it was back to the winery where we would see the process and get a tasting directly from the barrels.
After doing a tour of the inter-workings of the winery we sat down and began a wine tasting from some of New Zealand’s best bottles of Pinot and Sauvignon Blanc. We paired our wines with a charcuterie plate of cheese, saucisson, dry ham, bread and grapes. So delicious.
We walked away with 2 gorgeous bottles of Sauvignon Blanc. The tour and tasting took about 2 hours and cost 99 NZD (approx. 55 euro) per person. 100% worth it. For more information on Greystone wines or the Waipara wine district click on the buttons below.
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