Vintage 2014 is in full swing at Saint Clair Family Estate, and the winery is operating around the clock as the fruit is harvested at all hours, day or night, at optimum ripeness.
Saint Clair white winemaker Stewart Maclennan says after an earlier than usual start to vintage, the chardonnay and pinot noir grapes are all but harvested.
Chardonnay, destined for Saint Clair’s Pioneer Block 11 Cell Block Chardonnay, which is grown in the fertile deep soils of the Dillons Point area in the lower Wairau Valley, is to be hand picked today.
The winemaking team are pleased with the fruit quality, says Stewart.
“Chardonnay is looking very strong this year, with some good flavours coming through.
“The sauvignon blanc in the Dillons Point area is coming up to full ripeness too and showing some great flavours, which we’re pretty excited about.”
In other news, the annual Saint Clair vintage beard-off is also well underway.
Saint Clair wenior winemaker Hamish Clark says most of the winemaking team (the guys that is – just to clarify) are taking part in the ritual this year, which involves no shaving from first fruit to the last.
“Everyone’s beards are coming along nicely,” he says.
After speaking to a few of the winemaking team, it appears many are beardazzled by cellar hand Spence Jones’ growth, a particularly epic specimen.
But with several weeks of vintage remaining, there is still plenty of time for one of the crew to out-beard Spence.
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