From Luke’s email to friends & family on March 20th, 2011:
Jesse and Luke landed in Christchurch which recently was in
international news because of a rather large earthquake they had. We
haven’t seen any of the damage that happened but know that it is fresh
on the minds of all who live here. The wine region we are living and
working in is about a 40 minute drive to Christchurch and is quite
removed from any kind of city life or living that one might be
familiar with. Most Americans aren’t that familiar with this small
region called, Waipara Valley, but the wines are fantastic and have a
taste much different than those of Marlborough.
The house we are staying in is 10KM up a winding mountain road. No
internet access, TV, radio stations or even really neighbors (with the
exception of thousands of sheep.) Sheep are a huge part of the
countryside all over the island but surprisingly finding lamb in a
grocery store is somewhat difficult and expensive. The hipsters have
two pretty hip German roommates who will be joining us during harvest.
Both come from family owned wineries in Germany, one from the Phalz
and one from the Mosel Valley. Both are trying to have wine shipped
to the South Island so the staff of Greystone and Hipster Enology can
taste through a few of their selections (the winery in the Phalz sells
something like 40 different wines!)
Greystone just purchased another well known winery called Muddy Water.
This means that the total production will be quite a bit higher this
year coming in at around 350 tons of grapes. Tuesday, March 22nd,
will mark the first day grapes are coming in if all goes according to
plan. Weather is, of course, not something anyone can control and
plays a pretty large role in deciding whether or not grapes should be
picked. Assuming grapes come in, 5 hectares (about 12.5 acres) of
pinot noir will be handpicked in the morning and we can get started
hand sorting before crushing.
The weather did not cooperate, but it has given us more time to help set up & prepare the winery.
Below is a video we shot after 20 hours of travel time from Los Angeles. We’ve just arrived to our new home for the next three months as strangers in a strange land. Please enjoy.