Misha’s Vineyard is up a 3km drive along a steep and winding track which is why we only do private visits to the vineyard. Also once on the vineyard, in order to really see the entire 57-hectares, you really need to be in a 4-wheel drive as we have some slopes like our ‘ski slope’ block that are impossible to drive down unless you’re in a tractor or serious 4-wheel drive vehicle!
But a tour of the vineyard is really worth it as you’re rewarded with fantastic views over the Cromwell Basin especially from one of the viewing platforms that’s nearly 400 metres above sea level. People are also amazed to see that a vineyard could actually be planted on our steep schist slopes. Mind you it wasn’t easy and required months and months of ‘rock removal’ and many different types of earth-moving vehicles. But now 10 years later, the vineyard rows stretch out effortlessly between the canyons, rocky outcrops and manuka-filled gullies.
Some of our recent visitors have included respected wine critic & judge Raymond Chan and his wife Sue, who we made walk down our ski slope so they really knew just how steep it was, and Andy’s daughter Carly from Sydney who picked a very cold day to visit with a group of friends from Australia. We regularly organize visits and tastings for those in the hospitality trade especially for those restaurants and hotels who serve our wines and are keen to see where the grapes are grown.
We had the all-girl team from Bistro Gentil last month but I think the vineyard tour was overshadowed by the hospitality shown to them all by our receptionist (aka Bogart, our big poodle) when they came back to the house for a tasting. We also have just taken a group of keen wine collectors from Singapore up to the vineyard, along with Andy, a sommelier from one of Auckland’s top restaurants, The French Café. In fact this latest group was treated to an impromptu pruning demonstration by our vineyard manager, Rich Williams, who was hard at work in the vineyard.
And I’m not joking when I say hard at work – Rich, along with a team of 3, have to prune over 65,000 vines before the next season starts in spring. It’s a daunting task and means there’s no down time in the vineyard. The benefit of this small team doing the pruning means we have very high quality and a lot of consistency in our pruning which is the most important aspect of managing the vineyard in terms of getting the vines well set up prior the new season – which I don’t think is too far away judging by the temperatures we’ve been having lately!