A day in the Bay

Spending a day with Peter Robertson reminded me of why I love working in this industry, the wine industry is full of colorful individuals that make it fun. Peter is a gifted wine maker, insightful, generous and most of all a gentleman. The Brookfields fruit comes predominately from the Ohiti vineyards, nestled on the opposite side of the river to the Gimblett Gravels and Roys Hill. As we drive out there, Peter notes the water running beside, the slight increase in gradient to the plateau the vineyards sit on as well as the hills that act to protect the vineyards. Once at Ohiti we meet Peters very youthful vineyard manager (he’s knocking around 70). Up the road a little is the Back Block vineyard, we jump out and walk around it – the hills in the back are full of lime stone and whilst you can feel the heat in the vineyard, the vines look in great shape. The limestone in the hills absorbs the water in the winter, as this vineyard is well established the vines have dug deep to ensure they have all the water they need to get through the hot Hawkes Bay summer. To the right of the Back Block vineyard, which is planted mainly with Syrah is Peter’s prized Malbec. There were loads of ripe juicy Malbec bunches on the vine, this fruit is heading for Brookfields Sun Dried Malbec, made in an Amarone style, Peter dries the grapes to concentrate the flavours before making the wine. The last vineyard for the afternoon was the Hillside vineyard site- interestingly only half of the vineyard was netted – the reason why, practical of course. Birds don’t like to be exposed to prey – so half way up the hill side – it is too far from the nearest tree for the birds to fly to feast on the fruit. After a visit to Hillside, we enjoyed some early samples of the 2013 vintage in the winery – what a vintage it is going to be, all the fruit we saw looked excellent and the samples spot on. And the big question? Will there be Hillside Syrah 2013? Time will tell, but it is certainly looking very promising.