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Where I Wear My Moccasins Juggling the commitments of a student and dreams of a traveller.

Marlborough Viticulture Field Tour

NEW ZEALAND | Sunday, 27 April 2008 | Views [757]

At Montana Vineyards, look how massive it is.

At Montana Vineyards, look how massive it is.

As part of my HORT212 Viticulture I class, I was required to attend a tour of vineyards in the northern part of the south island.  The students all stayed in the Blenheim Top 10 Holiday Park, an adequate accomodation.  I roomed with Michele, Amber, and Heather.  We all pretty much stuck together, with Mike too.  It was 2.5 days of mostly pretending to listen to people speak about their profession and all the things that make vine life fun and not so much fun.  On the last day I had about enough and became pretty good and pretending to listen!  I'll admit some speakers were actually interesting, like the guy at Forrest Estate who recounted his succes story and gave good advice.  According to him, a good business needs to have a well developed marketing plan before anything else. 

It also helped that some places gave us tastings of their wines...I found it intrigueing that the smaller places like Forrest Estate and Staete Landt were more than happy to fill the glasses of 32+ students, but the big commercial wineries like Montana couldn't spare a drop.  Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised.  I guess they all have different motives like money vs. relationships with clients...or maybe they're all concerned about money and just have different ways of going about it.  Oh well, I shouldn't be complaing bout free wine!  I thought I was more of a red wine fan, but I've really taken a liking to white wines.  Sweeter ones are definitely more my taste. 

We visited Oyster Bay, Montana (a monster wine production company), Fromm, Forrest Estate, Matador, HortResearch, Staete Landt, and some other places I can't remember at the moment.  I could not believe how much land was devoted to the production of wine.  Kilometers of vines and grapes, as far as the eye could see!  And New Zealand is fast making a name and place for itself on the international stage.  The most planted variety in the Marlborough region is Sauvignon Blanc, and it varies quite a bit with all the unique soil compositions and mesoclimates present. 

I think I've decided I wouldn't want to grow grapes as a business, but as a hobby definitely!  There are volumes to know on the subject of viticulture and one certainly has to be smart in order to cultivate grapes properly...I think I will just put some little vines in the ground and see what happens!  :)

We were treated to a dinner at Chequers cafe in Blenheim as a way to meet & greet with the proffesionals in the field.  A nice way for the serious vit students to network and potentially find future jobs.  I, on the other hand, had no intentions of working in New Zealand so I enjoyed my dinner of fish and to-die-for chocolate cake for dessert.  yum...

The last day of the tour was only a half day, so I spent my time off with Heather, Amber, Mike, and Brandon for lunch.  They boys left to do their own thing so us girls went and had a cup of coffee. That was when we ran into Ryan, a kiwi vit student also on the trip.  He was up to nothing and so were we, so we went wine tasting!  We visited Wither Hills and Nautilus.  I must say Wither Hills was a fabulous place and I would definitely go there again.   We then raced to get me to my bus stop to catch a ride to Picton where I needed to catch a ferry to Wellington.  Whew, what a day!

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