The gift that keeps on giving
Glasnevin Wine Estates has hit on a novel method of selling its new, limited-release Le Notaire pinot noir 2012. They're giving it away - or rather you are.
"It's based on the notion of gifting and sharing," says general manager Barry Johns.
"We were inspired by the words of St Francis of Assisi: 'For it is in the giving that we receive."'
Only 275 individually numbered bottles were crafted from a parcel of 450kg of fruit that Barry and his wife Jenny painstakingly picked and destemmed by hand. Jenny then tied plastic bags to her feet and stomped on 90 per cent of the fruit until all the juice was released.
The remaining 10 per cent of whole bunches were added back before it was all fermented using wild yeast. It was matured in French oak barrels for nine months and then bottled, unfined and unfiltered. "I kept detailed notes on the whole process, which eventually became a little book called The Making of a Barrel of Wine," Barry says.
"The book is the companion to every bottle of Le Notaire."
So how do you get your hands on this offering? "You can't buy it for yourself," Barry says. "The wine and book can only be gifted, so anyone wanting a bottle for themselves needs to be a recipient of the generosity of another." Barry, Jenny and their son Ben (aviculturist and Glasnevin director) believe this wine can only be fully appreciated when shared with friends and family. To order, visit www.glasnevinwines.co.nz
A printed card will be enclosed with each Le Notaire pack that identifies the giver and then invites the recipient to choose to whom they would like to make the same gift.
There's no obligation to do so, but if you do something nice you just might get something special in return.
Let's hope it comes true
You'd think being a talented winemaker would be all the gift you could ever need. Not so, say this bunch of our nation's finest, who have some rather precise wishes for Santa.
Kirk Bray, of Georges Road Wines, says: "What I'd like for Christmas is for riesling to become the country's favourite grape, for Waipara to become the go-to wine region of New Zealand, for the Government to abolish excise tax, for supermarkets to stop selling wine and for no wine to be sold under $10 a bottle. Oh, and a puppy."
Di Holding, from Fancrest Estate in Waipara, also wants a puppy "to keep Diva company and wear her out, because Tin-Tin's too old to keep up with her - so am I". She'd also like "a calm summer without hail or ferocious winds, and more free time to sit back and watch the vineyard grow instead of working in it non-stop".
Phil Handford, from Alexandra's Grasshopper Rock, says: "We want the Australian distributor who we have taken to court to pay us for wine he sold two years ago. Most winemakers have one of those on their wish list."
Helen Thompson, from Kainui Road in the Bay of Islands, longs for "a long, hot, dry January to April, please".
Max Marriot, from Auburn in Central Otago, says: "I'd like a VW Amarok; German engineering in the vineyard for a German riesling fan."
Gordon Russell, from Esk Valley Wines, wants "a cheese-making kit to keep the creative juices flowing when there are no grapes to harvest".
Food is also on the mind of Cambridge Road's Lance Redgwell who wants "clear water, white sand and fresh scallops on the grill", a sentiment echoed by Nick Picone, from Villa Maria, who says: "If Santa can break out a sublime seafood banquet from our coastal waters I would be stoked. Maybe he could stay on and entertain the kids while Mandy and I down a couple of bottles of chardy."
Rod Easthope, from Hawke's Bay's Easthope Winegrowers, thinks "an extra two weeks to get all my canopy management and bunch-thinning done before veraison (ripening)" would be just dandy; and Rod McDonald, from RM Wines, would be content with "world peace and a bottomless bottle of Campari".
Tony Bish, from Sacred Hill, hopes Santa will bring him a second-hand leather jacket. "My mate has two vintage motorbikes and we intend a bit of cruising over summer."
A cycle-psycho of the non-motorised variety, Simon Nunns from Coopers Creek says: "I'm predictable when it comes to Christmas presents - Zipp 404 Carbon Clinchers for me, please."
Ursula Schwarzenbach, from Nelson's Blackenbrook Vineyard, is wishing for "a mountainbike skills course so I can hit the slopes with more confidence". And Poppy Hammond, from Poppies Martinborough, yearns for an Aston Martin.
"We have a few regular guests that have these gorgeous cars, and they're the only customers to whom I say: 'I can't wait for you to leave.' The sounds these cars make as they are winding up and down the 'golden mile' in Martinborough are amazing."
What Trudy Shield from Nelson's Waimea Estates really wants "is an awesome little ZeePress grape press for doing fruit samples in the lab. It's a super-expensive luxury item, considering it is cheap as chips to squash them by hand, but awesome in that it is not messy.
"It consistently gets the samples pressed out dry, doesn't talk back and has a good work pace. It doesn't get grape juice all up the walls of the lab and grape skins all over the floor. And it doesn't need a dozen demonstrations on how I need it done."