Marlborough Harvest

How good are you at packing? I love going away but loathe the packing process with a passion. It seems no matter what, that I will always overpack, take the wrong clothes, or leave something behind.

My carry on was stuffed with devices, cords, chargers, camera and lens – it weighed a lot more than the 7kg allowance. I felt guilty.

nets off time for harvest Marlborough

Monday in Marlborough was overcast which was such a shame as we were shooting our segment for a new series on NZ television called Thirsty Work – presented by the vivacious Yvonne Lorkin. A fun day nonetheless .. it’s always enjoyable talking wine.

TV shoot at Loddon Lane

The weather on the Tuesday was sublime .. which was spent checking vineyards, grapes and preparing for harvest which was due to start at Loddon Lane the next day.

marlborough vineyard in the sunshine

I adore this vineyard which is located in the Wairau Valley in Marlborough with gorgeous views of Mt Fishtail. It is a spectacular vineyard, grows only sauvignon blanc, and is a photographer’s delight positioned next to the Wairau River.

blue skies at Loddon Lane

sun blue skies and clouds at Loddon Lane Marlborough

Given the volumes of recent rain the vineyard was verdant green and showing off in the autumn sunshine.

sauvignon blanc harvest

sauvignon blanc grapes

Harvest for me means lugging my camera gear around the vineyard, avoiding the harvesters which are chugging up and down rows, while looking for the perfect shot. I think I ate my fair share of grapes, managed to get juice over my camera and lens and then wondered why some pictures looked blurry.

sauvignon blanc grapes tumbling from the gondala

Vineyards at harvest time are busy. Clock watching, waiting for trucks, conferring with people, some nail biting and the general logistics associated with the gathering of those grapes – an important time in the Toi Toi year.

grapes being poured into the truck

The 2016 vintage was huge and Loddon surprised us with its tonnage. We left just after sunset leaving the night shift to our winemaker Chris – who is adept at making a fine Sauv Blanc and a great bloke into the bargain.

Loddon Lane in Marlborough Grape Harvest

Truck waiting for grapes in Marlborough

sparkling sunset with harvester

sunset marlborough

sunset in marlborough

I repacked my bag on the Thursday morning nothing had changed it was still overpacked and cumbersome, time to head back to Auckland and leave the boys to the harvest. Brookdale Vineyard in the Omaka Valley was booked in for Friday.

grass seed heads

There is loads to do in our garden. I have seedlings absolutely busting to be planted, summer beds to clear and boost with organic material and loads of TLC, garlic to plant (I’m always early), pruning to finish and a keen eye watching those olives it’s not long to go before we will be harvesting them either.

Happy gardening

95 thoughts

  1. That is a massive machine. I think people pick grapes by hand in our neighborhood. But then the vineyards are small in comparison. Great photos.

  2. A bumper harvest and some great shots. And another area to add to my tour of the south Island. What a stunning couple you two are! I have never been to a machine picked harvest – some of the smaller vineyards around the Yarra Valley still hand pick. I’ve been to a few and it’s exhausting, those these days, the Cambodians are employed to pick ( and prune) each year. They go from vineyard to vineyard in groups. Can’t get over how green things are in New Zealand. Australians need to view this colour through polaroids- we rarely see it.

    • Hey Miss .. always good to see you here. You will have to visit Marlborough another time you would adore the Marlborough Sounds. Machine harvesting is much quicker than hand picking. And no matter what, it is such a tiring day. It had rained cats and dogs in Marlborough just before harvest hence being so green. But it sure was a dry summer down there. Not long until your trip F 😀

  3. Your photography is just outstanding! I enjoyed viewing the grape harvesting process…so much faster than by hand and it doesn’t seem to ruin the vines either.

    Beautiful rich colors!


  4. I had to read twice about the part about eating grapes xP Curiously that was a dream of kid, to go to a vineyard and eat tons of grapes, but… now although I love grapes I enjoyed more seeing across your eyes ^-^
    I love the contrast between the force and energy in the vineyard with the peace in the last photographs. Thank you very much Julie. I hope packing can get light to the next time, I am looking for a lighter laptop myself.

    • Hi Francis I don’t think I will ever pack lightly – I’m hopeless. And each time I go down for harvest, I do eat loads of grapes, I’m surprised I don’t make myself sick 😀 So pleased you enjoyed your visit. I always enjoy heading over your way!

    • I’m so pleased that you like that photo. I do too! Funny the day that I shot that was bleak and chilly but I can well imagine the grass nodding in the breeze on a fine warm day too 😀 Great to see you here

      • Is this yours? If so I’m going to pick up a few bottles tomorrow!

        Stoneleigh Latitude Sauvignon Blanc – $26.99 *Wine Festival Feature

        Country: New Zealand
        Region: Marlborough
        Varietals: Sauvignon Blanc
        Vintage: 2015
        Alc./ vol.: 13.5%
        SC: 00

        The Stoneleigh Latitude range heralds from an area in Marlborough known as the ‘Golden Mile’. This ‘Golden Mile’ is a fertile strip of land covered with ancient river stones and is highly regarded for its outstanding grape-growing conditions. The resulting wines are aromatically lifted, as well as riper in spectrum, a result of higher concentration of the stones in the area and the effect these have on the vines. Aromas of lime, grapefruit and gooseberry. Lots of citrus on the palate, very refreshing on a warm summer day. Try with seafood or even some vegetarian dishes.

  5. Oh my goodness what an undertaking. Wow, I often think about owning a small vineyard but then come face to face with the thought of building a relationship with huge harvesting machines and all sorts of wine making equipment. Whoa Nellie. Actually, I did talk to mom about a small vineyard for sale not too long ago and not too far away for $3 million. (Mom was like, “At my age?”) 😦 But then a couple weeks ago I did go look at 5 acres with a small vineyard for $2 million (more sort of the price my house would be sold for here in this crazy, over-priced city). That one I really did consider. (sigh) One day I will own more land and an organic farm. Oh, good news! Remember the great, huge and old vine which produces the most delicious green grapes in the world, which was going to fall victim to the bulldozer next door and Chloe had the bulldozer guy lift it out of the ground and over the fence and planted it up against the garage in my veggie garden? (whew, long question) Anyway, we thought it had two hopes, (Bob Hope and No Hope), and guess what? It has a couple buds!!!! I’m so happy and so proud of C for saving it . Now I just have to figure out how to prune, save, and recover a 100 yr old vine. How hard can THAT be? (don;t answer that…lol)

    • Hello V .. that is such great news about your vine! Good luck with that pruning though, I’ve never been good with grape vines. I could actually see you enjoying a small vineyard and taking loads of beautiful photos and doing lots of stunning paintings. xx

  6. Hi to you both. What great shots they really tell the story of how to run and harvest the grapes. I haven’t been to that vineyard but was lucky to see the other one in Wanika, how’s the harvest going there?
    The harvest on Frog Pond still goes on I see,still plenty of fruit. The crab apples looked good and plenty,how’s the jelly coming on,did you get more muslin? Still can’t do to much here in the garden as even last night there was frost,so apart from tidying up have to wait to plant out. Hope the olives are plentiful and you get some good olive oil. Then when I return I will have an abundance of garlic and oil to use on my pork belly dish(it needs so much garlic so plant plenty! ) Any way Julie happy planting weeding and feeding those veg beds. Lots love to you both Bill xxx

    • Hello Bill. No you haven’t been to Loddon, but you would love it. Such a beautiful spot. Clutha is harvested but I believe there are some other vineyards still to go. I’m doing more crabapples today, Shirley gave me a roll of muslim. Yay! No garlic for the pork belly – sorry!!! Much to do in the garden. Big hugs your way

  7. Stunning photos Julie, the South Island is just gorgeous isn’t it? Can’t wait to visit you very soon and see your amazing garden xx

    • Hi Sue … the South Island never ceases to amaze me. It is just stunning. So much to see – a photographer’s paradise. You know you must get here don’t you? Can’t wait to show you around – although the garden is looking so tired now. Big hugs

  8. Wonderful photoessay, Julie. Lovely photography.

    It always amazes me how a 60kg person can have a 7kg carry on luggage allowance, the same as a 150kg person. I’d like to argue that one day, next time they catch me carrying my overweight carry on luggage on board. 🙂

    • Mr Draco … thank you so much. So pleased that you enjoyed. Each time I board a plane with my bag, I hold my breath. Never know what I would do if they stopped me. Mind you, I’m only just over 😀 Great to see you here

  9. Hi Julie, wonderful photos. It looks like an incredible place with brilliant shades of green, blue and gold. The grapes look lovely. You still have plenty of work ahead of you though. Now the grapes have been harvested, you and Andrew will have to roll up your pant legs and start stomping. And don’t try to tell me you have never done that before! 🙂 Take care! Bob

    • Hey Bob … it isn’t usually this green at this time of year and the day was gorgeous. Bright blue skies and rolling gold & pink hues at the end of the day. The grapes looked and tasted divine. You are so right, the fun is just beginning. Guess what? I have never stomped grapes! LOL 😀 Always enjoy seeing you at Frog Pond Mr E. Take care

      • If what you say is true (and I’m not sure I believe it 🙂 ) it’s about high time you crush some grapes. That’s got to be as far away from high heels as you can get! Always enjoy my visit to Frog Pond!

  10. Our luggage limit went way over when we returned from our holiday in UK weighed down with bottles of wine that a friend gave us when we visited his vineyard near Blenheim. Fabulous colours in your photos and always good to see such great pictures of harvest.

  11. Fabulous and heart warming to see your amazing photos Julie and how interesting. You two are as full on as usual. Love to you and Andrew.

  12. Julie, what stunning scenery and I have never seen a “wine harvester” before – the only ones I am familiar with have two hands and two feet and tend to be dribbling grape juice out of the side of their mouths. I can relate on the packing and particularly the weight of carry-on luggage – its where the camera gear goes if I am taking it. Am much practised in throwing it cheerfully over my shoulder as if it contained nothing but feathers only to collapse once past the gate desk…Happy traveling and I see you have gone away to allow the eggs to accumulate to make a heartier breakfast. Good thinking 😉🐣🍀

    • I laughed when I read your comment MM – I too make out that my bag is as light as a feather. Quite the opposite when I try and stuff it into the locker on the plane. Ah so you haven’t seen a harvester before .. big aren’t they? The view from one of these is fabulous .. and the smell of those grapes. Eggs .. lucky to be getting one a day at the mo! Shame on them ..

  13. Such marvellous pics and wow, I didn’t know you’re on television too – you’re as marvellous as your pics, Julie! NZ Sauvignon blanc is as you know my favourite wine but I can only get Matua Valley here…better than nothing I reckon. 😉

    • Hello Annette .. thank you! Lovely to see you here .. and thank you for your glowing comment. Matua Vineyard is about 10 minutes from where we live in Auckland. I’m rather partial to Sauv Blanc too 😀

  14. These are beautiful photos, Julie! Thank you for the wonderful tour of the vineyard. We love Australian wine. Packing for travel is always a struggle, say the least. 🙂
    Happy travel!

  15. I thank you for letting me know that there is a Malborough town in NZ. I am taking a short break in Auckland soon and wonder if I will make it there. Great photos of vineyards. 😊

  16. When we traveled to NZ I had to deal with all the cords, chargers, etc., that you mentioned, plus a heap of adapters to fit American plugs to your sockets. I accidentally packed the wrong charger for my camera’s battery and had to spend a bunch of money to buy a universal charger for Canon batteries in Auckland.

  17. Absolutely beautiful country that you captured Julie…lovely photos. Very interesting to see the harvest, thank you for sharing it with us. Those vineyards will certainly produce some wonderful Sauvignon Blanc which I love.

  18. Thanks for the tour. I can see it’s busy, but what a wonderful time of year. So good that the crop produced well this year and yes, Wow! Verdant green.
    Stunning pics as always. You really have a great eye and such beautiful scenery in NZ. We are so brown and dry again over here 😳
    Another fantastic post Jules xx

  19. Lovely post. Great photos – especially the view of all the grapes spilling out. Reminds me that I once spent a season grape picking in France – tough work, good food, lashings of wine (if you could handle it for breakfast) and interesting locals – wish I’d been into photography then 🙂

    • Thank you! I love the pic of the grapes spilling out too. I was very happy when I spotted it later. Ow, that would have been fun picking in France. Not sure about the wine for breakfast though. 😉 How I wish I had been into photography years back too, what fun it would have been.

  20. Is this yours?
    Stoneleigh Latitude Sauvignon Blanc – $26.99 *Wine Festival Feature

    Country: New Zealand
    Region: Marlborough
    Varietals: Sauvignon Blanc
    Vintage: 2015
    Alc./ vol.: 13.5%
    SC: 00

    The Stoneleigh Latitude range heralds from an area in Marlborough known as the ‘Golden Mile’. This ‘Golden Mile’ is a fertile strip of land covered with ancient river stones and is highly regarded for its outstanding grape-growing conditions. The resulting wines are aromatically lifted, as well as riper in spectrum, a result of higher concentration of the stones in the area and the effect these have on the vines. Aromas of lime, grapefruit and gooseberry. Lots of citrus on the palate, very refreshing on a warm summer day. Try with seafood or even some vegetarian dishes.

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