WSC7.11 Winery Industry Experience Vintage 2011 atEsk Valley EstateBay view, Napier
About the winery Situated in the north of New Zealand’s picturesque Hawkes Bay, at Bay View is The Esk Valley Estate winery. The winery sources fruit from Hawkes Bay, including the world-renowned Gimblett Gravels and Marlborough, as both regions consistently produce grapes of an extremely high quality. Esk Valley is famous for its premium wine “The Terraces", which is only released those years when the terraced vines on the banks above the winery, produce an exceptional vintage. Esk Valley is a boutique winery, but it is unique in that many of the techniques used to craft its award-winning wines are dictated by the winery itself. The old concrete vats, the layout of the buildings, and the absence of modern technology mean the people at Esk Valley have had to make wine in a simple, honest, hands-on way.
The Team Senior Winemaker: Gordon Russell Assistant Winemaker : Dane Jarvie Cellar Manager: Steve Sykes 2 permanent cellar hand+ 6 vintage cellar hand
Overview of vintage 2011 First fruit was received in the first week of march. A total of 900 t were crushed along with lot of wine/Juice handled for Villa Maria’s Labels. The vintage ended in the last week of April with all the last of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah were harvested and processed. “Overall, it was not a great vintage” as the winemaker describes with a lot of wet weather causing rot or pre-timed harvesting of the grapes. On the other hand the winemaker reckons it was good for Chenin Blanc and Verdelho. Although the number(Brix/pH/TA) for the reds were not the desired numbers , the wines show good flavours and tannin structure.
And the finest……”The Terraces” This is handcrafted wine and a true vineyard expression. All the harvested fruit(Merlot, Cab Sauv, Mallbec) being co-fermented open fermenter no. 2 (reserved for The Terraces) Pressed and matured in new French barriques for two years before bottling. “I was there in 2010 and 2011”.
Wine style The wine style chosen I was interested in was the Esk valley Estate range Chenin Blanc. Because Esk Valley is one of the very few producers of Chenin Blanc in New Zealand. A medium-bodied wine with classic Chenin Blanc characters with full palate and a touch of residual sugar to balance the acidity is aimed .
The making The fruit was de-stemmed, lightly pressed and then gravity fed to both tank and aged oak for fermentation. Cultured yeast(VL2) was employed for the tank fermentation to capture aromatics while indigenous yeasts were utilized for the barrel ferments.
The tank ferment was stopped with a small quantity of residual sugar to balance the natural acidity of the finished blend. The new wines were then left on lees till blending and a casein fining was done before bottling.
Winery operations undertaken/involved with Cleaning ( A LOT OF IT) Fruit receiving Pressing Racking through heat exchangers Inoculations Ferment arrests Nutrient additions Barreling( Cleaning, Swelling, Stacking, Filling ,Racking) Cap Management( Plunging , Pumpovers) Pressing Reds Inoculation for MLF Tankering Transfers
A lot of barrels stacking on good old stillages !!!!!
Record Keeping All the record keeping is managed with the help of, winery management system called EZY. All the details of the operation including batch codes are included in work operation sheet which are then updated and stored. The information on the computer is then available for any reports needed. The hard copies are stored in the winery safe for 5 years.
Health and safety Health and safety issues are adhered to and the cellar supervisor, Steve Sykes is responsible for these matters. All employees employed for the vintage period are required to undergo an induction where basic health and safety precaution and measures taken are explained. While using any corrosive or harmful chemicals e.g. Sodium hydroxide or diatomaceous earth, eye protection, gloves and a breathing mask is worn.
A carbon dioxide/Oxygen meter is used to check the atmosphere before entering any confined space. As with any winery work, there is an element of danger but essentially to create a safe environment standard operating procedures must be adhered to and just general common sense being a must. Before entering a confined space form needs to be filled and buddy system is implemented. The person entering is made to wear a harness and the environment in the confined space is checked for oxygen levels. If any major incident was to arise, a full independent OSH investigation would take place and be adhered to.