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 Post subject: Wineries
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 6:46 pm
Posts: 1282
Location: Masterton New Zealand
Back in the late 1980's I was asked to write a small article for the local paper from my position as Chairman of the Hawkes Bay Vintners. It took off more than I anticipated and was included in the promo brochure for the district.

"Lets do the wineries this weekend!"
A phrase to make the most hardened winemaker cringe! In the 60's and 70's the phrase meant just that and the winemakers didn't object too much because sherry and port were the order of the day and not much reference to grapes was required. We could make more sherry from a ton of grapes than God could put into them! Customers would sit in the cellar's convivial atmosphere and tipple for an hour or two before wending their way home with enough under their arm to last until next time. It was a way of life in Auckland's western suburbs and to a lesser extent , in Hawkes Bay, but times were to change.
Someone noticed that the climate of Hawkes Bay was not too different from that of Bordeaux and winemakers arrived from other parts of New Zealand as well as Australia and France and their interests were in quality table wines . In the late 70's and early 80's wines were produced on a small scale which astonished overseas experts with their ripe fruit character and long lingering finish.. In the early 80's regulations were installed that forbade the addition of water to 'stretch' wine quantities, and , wonder of wonders, it tasted better!
The people of Hawkes Bay are fortunate. They have on their doorstep, the opportunity to aquire some of the finest wines in the world; not only that, but frequently the chance to taste before they purchase. What other business does this as a matter of course, (except for cheese- another fine art!) . No winemaker that I know will expect you to buy a wine that you dislike, but all would like to think that you will buy it if you like it. The intention is the crucial issue. Bear in mind that the winemaker, or his staff, know his wines well and can guide you in the logical sequence of tasting. He or she may ask questions regarding your preferences, not to be nosey, but to avoid assaulting your palate with a wine style which you may find unpleasant. Not only will your palate be offended but an automatic Government "donation" will be involved in the form of excise tax, as well as the commercial cost to the winemaker. The taster who asks to try the 'Chardon' will be told that Chardonnay is not Chardon, and with all due respects to Penfolds Wines both wines are unlikely to be appreciated by the same palate!
Only the consumer can tell a good wine. To paraphrase the poet, beauty is in the mouth of the beholder, and this is how it should be. A dusty bottle of Chateau Petrus may set you back a small fortune, but to one who dislikes a dry red wine it is a 'bad' wine, best taken to the nearest Hawkes Bay winemaker, who will probably give you a half a dozen bottles of anything you like to make you feel better! French champagne makers, when not sueing Antipodean bubbly makers, produce a wine considered over rated or even unpleasant by some, but fortunately there is still a hardy band of us who would drink enough to float the Rainbow Warrior if the opportunity is offered.
When next you visit a Hawkes Bay Winery, spare a thought for the winemaker. He loves his product and wants you to love it too but does not expect miracles. He frequently lives in the winery during vintage, when his hands are stained purple and grapes won't stop fermenting because it's Sunday, he labours at the mercy of the weather , like any farmer, the government does not love him and never has. Even after all this, he will try to recommend another winery, if you don't like ANY of his wines, but he may cry after you have gone!

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Civilisation is a veneer- easily soluble in alcohol!


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 Post subject: Re: Wineries
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:14 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:56 pm
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Location: Solihull, UK
Lovely article, Michael, I can see why it was included in the promo leaflet. :D

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Blessed are the crack'd - for it is they who will let in the light.


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 Post subject: Re: Wineries
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:39 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:49 am
Posts: 2930
my post got rejected. So, in obedience...I'm wishing for the palettes of all creative arts, from oils to cheeses to wines, be equally enjoyed for their resonance and contrasts.

Thank you CM. Needed the story.
lurff linnyx


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