Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wine and dine

Jordan and I enjoy a glass of wine, as perhaps you do. But we were offered a new experience to go along with wine drinking - that of grape picking. So early in the morning off we went with friends (Ed and Fran of SV AKA) to the Cottle Hill Winery just a short distance from Opua New Zealand. We met the very friendly and gracious owners who gave us a few instructions on what to do and what not to do.

We did not actually pick the grapes, we clipped clusters from the vines...with very sharp clippers. Number 1 rule is to keep your fingers away from the clippers. The owners, Mike and Barbara, had previously spent a few hours clipping many of the excess leaves from the vines which left the grapes quite visible and therefore seldom necessary to search for them behind the many leaves. Many other wineries do not do this which makes it more difficult for helpers to find and clip away the grapes.

Jordan ready to clip hanging grape clusters

We clipped and then dropped the grapes into a yellow bin at our feet. Before the bins got heavy, we dumped them into a bin at the end of the row where they would be picked up by a truck when full. It was amazing how fast it all went. After a couple of hours, we all went up to the house for a coffee break where we were provided with a snack and refreshments. Then back down to the vines for more clipping till lunchtime.

Job well done (Barbara, Ed, helper, Judy, and Fran in front)

Mike and Barbara offered everyone a superb, barbecued lunch and free wine that they had made in previous years. They also handed out samples of their new walnut tasting liqueur (and grappa for those willing to taste) - double yummy!

Then to reward us for our 'hard' labour, they sent each of us home with our choice of spirit. I chose the grappa and Mike handed Jordan a bottle of their new liqueur as he knew how much both of us loved it. Hopefully, this will be on the market soon! We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to Mike and Barbara of the Cottle Hill Winery for this unique (and delicious!) experience.

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