As our northern hemisphere counterparts kick off their 2014 vintage, some of our staff are taking the opportunity to double up their experience by working the European vintage.
Staggered vintages around the globe provides vintners with a great opportunity to work in different environments, learn different practises and traditions, and soak up all the knowledge they can from their peers.
Next week, our white winemaker Stewart Maclennan leaves on a two-month trip to Bründlmayer, a top end wine producer in Langenlois in the Kamptal, a wine growing region in Austria. Bründlmayer is situated on the banks of the Danube, 70 km north-west of Vienna in the Lower Austrian Kamp Valley, and Stew is looking forward to working with some of the best in the industry.
“Austria is the home of Grüner Veltliner, which produces a huge range of styles, from rich and peppery reserve styles to crisper drink-now versions,” he says.
He will be paying attention to their more technical winemaking and viticultural practises such as clone selection versus soil type and fermentation temperatures.
“I’ll also be looking closely at harvest decisions, picking regimes and how they treat skin contact and pressing fractions.”
Although Stew hasn’t worked in this particular region before, he has worked extensively in most major winegrowing areas in Italy and France, and is looking forward to the experience.
“Austria had a pretty big industry destroying scandal some years ago,” he says.
“As a result the industry there has grown with strict quality guidelines.
“There is a healthy blend of old world meets new world in Austria and I’m hoping to watch and learn how they mesh the two successfully.”
Vintage is pretty intense, but he hopes to have time to catch up with other Marlborough winemakers who are also in Europe for vintage.