In Praise Of Riesling 2011

CP Lin, a Big Porcini and The Riesling Dinner


Monday this week has seen the 2011 edition of the In Praise Of Riesling event. Held at the world reknown Pegasus Bay Winery this event celebrates all that is Riesling. Kathryn the Owner/Manager here at Mountford and CP Lin our wellknown wine maker were lucky enough to attend. The idea behind the event is to give context to understanding the Riesling grape variety, to explore Riesling in it’s NZ context and finally give Riesling relevance by showcasing Riesling’s place as a food wine. The dinner was a huge hit with food cooked by Pegasus Bay’s own Oliver Jackson. A highly anticipated Waipara Valley event it has by all accounts been hugely successful.

This all day event on the Monday was followed by a relax, unwind and wrap up for media and attendees down at The Cove, Amberley Beach. Fantastic local produce was cooked including local crayfish and paua (finished off over hot coals) and slow cooked venison with haricot beans. Kate, who did the cooking at The Cove did an amazing job cooking in a le creuset on the beach.

Here are some links to people more eloquent than I talking about the events:

Dan Sims and Ben Edwards from The Wine Guide- Video

Muddy Water Winery Blog

Pegasus Bay Media Release

Pegasus Bay News

Rebecca Gibb

To quote Max Marriott who wrote on the Jancis Robinson blog when he attended the 2008 event: “What do you call a group of Riesling lovers? A thrill of Riesling lovers? A suite of Riesling lovers? A residual of Riesling lovers? Whatever we’re called, there is little doubt that we’ll all be there for the next instalment of In Praise of Riesling. ”

If you can make it, the next In Praise Of Riesling is sure to be another event to remember.

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What Technology Can You Not Live Without?

I was recently asked this question: “What technology can I not live without?” My instant thought was email. We are all a bit addicted to email in the office here at Mountford. We receive bookings for tastings via email; invoices are received and sent via email. I got this blog topic emailed to me. I personally have all 6, yes 6 email addresses I have sent to one particular Gmail account. But, should email be my pick? Really what would email be without internet, without computers? If no one had them, no one would miss them. The world would go back to typewriters or handwritten and waiting for a response from people.

So, what technology can we not live without here at Mountford? Well first, I had better define technology. Today we often think of it in computer, cell phone, and microchip terms. Technology is the application of practical sciences to industry or commerce. It is an invention.

So what is the technology or invention we can’t live without here at Mountford? Wine. You knew that was coming.

Who invented wine? Well, wine, in various infant forms has been around almost as long as man has. The Romans are credited with inventing the wine barrels, Monks with taking meticulous notes on wine making and helping perfect Frances wine making techniques.

My favourite story on how wine was invented has to be this one: A Persian Princess had found herself out of favour with the King of Persia. Upon hearing this news, she attempted to commit suicide by consuming a jar of spoiled grapes. Instead of dying, she found herself feeling better and acting a lot happier. Eventually she passed out, but when she woke up, she found that the King liked her new attitude so much that he admitted her back into his good graces.

In truth though, wine has had many people from many lands developing all the different aspects of it. So, next time you raise a glass of Mountford wine with your friends, remember to thank the world for helping create the technology we can’t live without.

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Can You Handle The Truth?

This week I got a post suggestion from someone to help me overcome a bit of writers block. The suggestion has made me stop and think a lot.

Is the truth better? Can we handle the truth? Is ignorance bliss?

The first question is easy for me, but it has a qualification. Yes the truth is better, but silence or sidestepping is better than unnecessary harshness. Makes sense? Let me illustrate.

Take the classic: “Does this make my bum look big?” Now, imagine you are asked this by your best friend/partner/wife at a party. She is already there, has had a heck of a time getting ready, and isn’t feeling so awesome about herself. And, the pants make her look bum look huge! Right, so truthful answer: “yes they do” is harsh, mean and too late at this point as she is already at the party. My answer would be “Stop worrying, we are here, you are amazing and your smile will charm anyone in this room” There; sometimes a bypass is better than truth.

What about from a wineries point of view? Can wineries, winemakers, vineyard managers, people who toil daily to bring you their best and greatest in a glass, can they handle your truth?

Firstly, as I said your truth. I am new to this winemaking game but I already know that taste is subjective. One person sees a certain taste as a flaw, while others look for that quality, and enjoy it. Some love dry wine, others don’t. But what about the tastes of those who affect the purchasing decisions of others. What if the wine reviewers don’t like your wine?

I am in the fortunate position that I work for a winery that gets great reviews. Some are awesome in fact. We most certainly celebrate those. Usually with a glass or two of the reviewed wine! But, as anywhere there are times that wine just doesn’t receive the rating that we feel it deserves. We discuss the reasons, we think about what else was being reviewed that day, what the tastes are of that particular reviewer. Then we move on.

I like the fact that wine reviewing, while subject to individual tastes, is all done because people have a passion for wine. They review it, drink it, cellar it, discuss it, pay huge amounts for that rare variety all because they love it. People want to love the wine that they taste. This gives wineries a certain ‘friend with wrong pants already at the party’ advantage. The reviews are coming from a good place, so the review doesn’t carry a sting.

So can we handle the truth? We can handle honest truth coming from a good place, but we all need a bit of deflection now and then.

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Why did we start?

Lately, in an attempt to find some inspiration I have been following a few other blogs. Some about wine, some just from people with an enjoyable ‘voice’. With all of these blogs I am fascinated about one thing; why did they start? What brought them to blogging? I have been thinking about this myself (especially when I have no inspiration and I am questioning, full of self doubt, what on earth I have gotten myself into). Why did I start?

Here is why: This is not me blogging for myself. This is blogging for a business I love. I am new to this business as well. I am not the owner here, not the wine maker, not the vineyard manager. None of these talented people have the time to spare to eat at a normal hour, let alone blog, tweet, et al.

So, here I am, the anonymous blog writer here at Mountford, learning the ropes of wines tasting, absorbing the culture of the place I work for and the experience of the people I work with. And this blog is about our winery, our wines, the events we have, the everyday happenings and the amazing people that work here.

So why do we blog? This is a great way for us to remember what has happened throughout the year, the little things that take our fancy, the events that mark every year. It is also a great way to let the fans of our wine know what we do to get the best product we can to their glass. It gets new people interested in our wine and it gets the Mountford Estate name out there a bit more.

This blog is very new, still a baby. But it is very important to us and an enjoyable way of recording the daily happenings of a small vineyard and winery here in the Waipara Valley, New Zealand. If you are coming along for the journey, welcome!

So, now you know, why we started and that is this weeks blog post. Yes it is brief, but baby steps as they say.


Posted in Mountford Estate, NZ Wine Making, Waipara Valley | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Ups, The Downs, The In-betweens and The Wine

It’s a tradition for many at this time of year to reflect on what has been and think about what the future will hold. 2010 has been an eventful dramatic year for many. Global economy worries still hurt many, the wine industry is most certainly not exempt from the worldwide knotting of the purse strings. There have been shocking Global disasters and some very close to home calamities have made this year long and painful for many. We are  looking forward to a 2011 filled with happy events and a settled day-to-day life.

That having been said, there have been some exciting changes and great events that have happened this past year as well. So, I thought I would take this time to celebrate the good this year has brought us. Continue reading

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Just a superquick note…

Just writing a super quick note to everyone out there on my last day in the office for 4 relaxing days!

I hope every one enjoys the break, has a fantastic time with their family and friends and comes back refreshed and ready for the exciting opportunities that the new year will bring.

Promise me you will take care on the roads and be patient with all the other holiday makers and, of course, arrange a sober driver so you can enjoy some fabulous Mountford Wine’s while holidaying.


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Naked Hungry Traveller Wining In The Waipara

Awesome review of what Waipara has to offer on the Naked Hungry Traveller site. Check it out here. And to wet your appetite here is a wee bit on Mountford:

“I had a winning Waipara moment as I climbed to the summit of The Gradient vineyard at Mountford and was rewarded with a view to take my breath away. It wasn’t a steep climb, just breath-takingly lovely when I reached the top. The Southern Alps extended as far as I could see. The Waipara Valley nestled gently in between rounded sheep-studded hills. I caught an ozone infused whiff of the southern Pacific Ocean some ten kilometres away. The light was pure New Zealand, simultaneously suffused and brilliant.

Sipping from a glass of Mountford’s stunning ‘The Gradient’ Pinot Noir, I felt transported to heaven on Earth. One of the best wines I’ve had all year in one of the world’s special places all in one day does that to me.”

Posted in Mountford Estate, Mountford Vineyard, New Zealand, Waipara, Waipara Valley, Wine Industry | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment