Clearview Lodge Autumn Harvest
Autumn has been a busy time at Clearview Lodge this season. In April, after a marvellous sunny warm summer, we harvested our Pinot Noir. We are currently drinking our 2011 and 2012 Pinot Noirs and for something a little special, our 2010 Pinot Noir Port which has proven very popular and is available for you to try in the guest lounge by the fire. This
years harvest is at our Winemakers (20 minutes away in West Melton) We have 2 1/2 Barrels of Pinot Noir (about 65 dozen bottles) and a half barrel of Port
(about 12 dozen bottles) which will be bottled later in the year. We harvest our grapes in April or early May depending on ripeness and weather.
We have about 20 friends and
relatives to help, and have morning and afternoon tea and a lunch accompanied by some of the previous seasons wines. It is a wonderful day as we can only pick in nice weather, as rain would dilute the juice and we can’t have that!
These pruners are really quick, but very heavy, the plan is to keep 5 fingers on each hand so care is being taken. Our winter, while wet this year, has been very mild and it is still July and there is sap rising, which means the buds will be swelling in no time. This also means the vines could be vulnerable to frost, so I hope we can have a few good frosts to slow them down again, so I can finish pruning before bud burst. During your tour of the vineyard, I can explain all the different tasks which have to be done throughout the season. There is always something to be done in the vineyard, whether it is selecting shoots or removing laterals or leaves, to get sun on the bunches. Once the nets are put on, to keep the birds out (at the end of January or beginning of February), there is less to do. Samples are taken to the winemaker in April and we keep an eye on the weather and prepare for the harvest. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir or Pinot Port with us. It’s a tough job, but someone has to to it!
The Olive Harvest
Our Olive harvest is a somewhat more drawn out affair and takes place over about 3 weeks. We have a mechanical harvester which helps and, just like in Italy, we spread our nets under the trees and collect up all the olives, which Robin knocks off with the (electric back-pack) harvester which has a long pole and long carbon fibre rod fingers. Some are picked by hand but mostly only if the tree has frosted fruit, from the previous season, which we don’t want in our extra virgin olive oil.
We have friends and family, and occasionally guests, who help with moving the nets and sorting the olives. At the end of each day the fruit is all taken out to the press in Ohoka and the oil is collected from the previous day. Now we have all our oil, we will send away samples to be certified Extra Virgin and enter some of the olive oil competitions. We won a Silver medal in the New Zealand Gourmet Oil competition in 2011 and a bronze medal in the New Zealand Olive Association awards in 2011.
This year we picked 2300 kgs of fruit and have 137 litres of oil. Some of our 500 olive trees had 30-40 kgs of fruit. You might like to try our oil with some nice fresh bread and
some of our dukkah, which Robin makes from
some of our walnuts and hazel nuts, which are also available a bowl, up in the lounge, if you would like to have a nibble. Due to our cool-climate situation we don’t get a very high yield of oil but it is very good quality oil.
Once the olives are picked they are taken to our shed to be de-leafed.
We pay for the pressing by weigh so don’t want to pay for leaves in our oil. Bryan (Sue’s clever Dad) has made us a de-leafer. Together with Sue’s Mum, they work tirelessly sorting.
These are our main crops but we had a great cherry season in late December and January and you can pick cherries to have with breakfast or on your tour of the gardens and vineyard when you come to stay. We also enjoyed raspberries, boysenberries, strawberries, red and black currants, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, plums, greengages, feijoas and lemons are always fruiting.
I will be having words with the birds about the apricots. I am happy to share with our bellbirds but not some of their friends, but I would like a few apricots this year. I am still making muffins with our raspberries and have Pinot jelly, raspberry jam, quince jelly and quince paste, apricot jam all available for your breakfast. Our nuts are ready in Autumn and many visitors enjoyed picking their own chestnuts. I pick up and dry the walnuts and hazelnuts before I can use or sell them.
Whatever the season, you will always receive a warm welcome and something tasty to eat or drink, which you can see growing here and pick if it’s in season.
Sue & Robin,
8 Clearwater Avenue, Harewood
Christchurch, New Zealand
Tel +64 3 359 5797
Mobile 021 727 883