Most mornings, at about 5.30am, I creak out of bed, throw on my dressing gown, grab a torch, pop my gumboots on and scuff along our longish driveway to retrieve the newspaper from whichever shrub the paper delivery person has thrown it on.
It's usually ultra quiet, except for the snuffling of the dog, but the other day I had a feeling that we weren't alone so I stopped and shone my torch on to the outside wall of the car shed.
There must have been a hundred spiders silently going about the industry of creating or repairing webs (some of which looked as if they'd been there for decades, only the dust and papery fly wings holding them together) or eating an unfortunate victim, or just sitting there concentrating on the important business of surviving.
It made me think about some of the quiet achievers in our industry, those who simply work on creating the best products they can without being distracted by all the competition.
Here are some of them ...
BANNOCK BRAE GOLDFIELDS CENTRAL OTAGO PINOT NOIR 2009, $30
Gorgeous "primary" fruit - that's things like cherry, strawberry, blueberry, rhubarb and hedgerow fruits. Lifted spices, soft, velvety tannins and a juicy, succulent mouthfeel on the finish - great stuff. www.bannockbrae.co.nz
HARAKEKE FARM NELSON PINOT NOIR 2010, $24
1/2This is a great debut from Joanne Costar and Andrew Sutherland's tiny 3ha vineyard in Nelson's Moutere district. And despite being named after flax, there's nothing green about this wine. Lovely aromas of dried strawberry and cherry lead to a fruit-forward, tangy, spicy pinot with stretchy, smooth tannins on the finish. Buy from www.harakekefarm.co.nz
SAWMILL BREWERY 'THE DOCTOR' DOPPLEBOCK, 500ml, $9
Tasting this for the first time in the midst of our nationwide Marmite shortage, I wasn't worried because it's all here in the glass. Impenetrably dark and deliciously smooth, it soaks your tastebuds with meaty, moorish, comforting character. Ribsticking and robust, it'll put hairs on your chest and lead in your pencil, as they say. Visit www.sawmillbrewery.co.nz for stockists.
AKARUA CENTRAL OTAGO BRUT NV, $33
This is the debut sparkling effort from the talented team at Akarua in Bannockburn, and it's a cracker.
Delicate bready, biscuity aromatics edged with yeasty notes and a splash of white peach on the palate; what more could you want in a sip of fizz?
To buy online or for stockists in your area visit www.akarua.com
SILENI 'THE LODGE' HAWKE'S BAY CHARDONNAY 2010, $27
Even though Sileni has moved on to the 2011 vintage, if you can still find the 2010 on the shop shelves then do a little dance because it's drinking beautifully.
Bursting with peach, grapefruit, juicy pineapple and boasting a concentrated, toasty mouthfeel and an enduring texture. For more information, visit www.sileni.co.nz