Organic winery's harvest 'a standout'

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 11:39 02/04/2013
Janet McLean
Kat Pickford
Grape pride: The harvest at Fromm Winery involves the use of vintage prams, easing the load for pickers, including Brookby Rd grape grower Janet McLean

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The 2013 vintage in Marlborough could be its best yet, says Fromm Winery general manager William Hoare.

Mr Hoare has been working for the certified organic winery for 14 years, and has never seen such a "perfect" season.

"I think for Marlborough, this could potentially be the best vintage we've ever done," he said.

"All the elements are there, we've had hot days and cool nights, which have helped the fruit retain its acidity. We've had enough rain when it was needed, but it's been dry enough that there is no disease pressure."

There is a theory that if the fruit tastes good on the vine and the juice tastes good after it's pressed, then the wine will also taste good.

Although they would not really know until the wines were ready in two years' time, they certainly had high hopes for a standout vintage, he said.

The grape harvest began at the winery last week. The Easter holidays did not stop pickers from working on Saturday.

But the narrow rows and closely-planted grape vines - typical of a Burgundy vineyard - mean harvesting at Fromm is slightly different to the standard Marlborough vineyard.

Lorraine Wilson, who has been working at Fromm for "too many years to count", was managing the group of about 15 pickers, harvesting pinot noir from the Fromm Winery vineyard.

Many nations were represented, and most of them picked up work at Fromm through friends, family or acquaintances, she said.

Pickers are instructed to not pick anything they would not eat. The fruit is then placed in plastic bins which are pushed up the rows in antique prams.

They have been using the large-wheeled antique prams for at least 10 years, because it is gentler on the grapes, and easier on the pickers' backs, Ms Wilson said.

Brookby Rd grape grower Janet McLean has helped out with the Fromm harvest on and off for eight years, between raising her three sons, so she is quite comfortable with a pram.

"I've had lots of practice."

Mrs McLean also said it had been one of the best seasons she could remember. "It's very good, we've had very little rain . . . it's probably the best I've ever seen."

Between working on her small vineyard and helping out at others, she keeps pretty busy all year.

"I love being outside, and the flexibility is good - as long as I get the work done, I can take time off when I need to."

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- The Marlborough Express

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