Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Looking on the grape ...

Red Tractor vineyard
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
...and they were indeed red: Pinot Noir grapes growing in the Red Tractor vineyard on the road between Cromwell and Wanaka. Grant took us for a wander down the rows of vines, pruning, removing burned fruit which looked like raisins - what happens when the temperatures hit 40 degrees - and reconnecting an irrigation hose which had come adrift.

Viniculture is relatively new to this area - the last ten years have seen a huge growth in the number of vineyards. The process is more or less hydroponic, using water pumped from boreholes to a water table which rose when Lake Dunstan was created. Sometimes nutrients are added to the water by a pump, and we saw how important the supply of water is - where a trickle hole had become blocked, there would be a withered vine with shrivelled fruit. We learned that some growers will give fruit which has dried out "the JC treatment" which involves soaking the fruit overnight in water till it regains its size. You can work out the "JC" connection.

This afternoon I returned to the mineworkings at Bendigo - with my camera. You can see the results by clicking through to Flickr on today's pic. We walked from Welshtown to Logantown via the Aurora battery site - a wonderful walk through Manuka shrubs and thorn bushes, several of which were concealing lethal mineshafts. Rabbits were everywhere, skittering over the dry earth as we approached. The wind was strong enough to be cooling and the views were to die for. A great hike.

Tonight it is chilly - the wind has moved to the South and the forecast is for showers - and temperatures tonight of 5 degrees. Just like summer hols in Scotland!


  1. "tonight is chilly"... Don't pretend you have nothing to warm you up after a day in the vineyards! ;-)

    I'm sure the DGS Podcasters really appreciated your comments.

  2. I'm so glad you were careful where you trod and didn't fall down a hidden mineshaft! I actually knew somebody from NZ who did this and broke her back. She apparently did the classic 'step back for a photo'. Whe she came to stay with my parents in Glasgow she was paraplegic.

    Great pictures though.

    Weather here is sunny and cold, btw.

    Oh, and I have your keys back safely *g*

  3. Di - glad to hear it (the keys, not the mine bit!). Apparently the boy even watered the plants ....

  4. Harry Derrett12:21 PM

    Dear John and Christine

    Nice to hear you're having a good time down under. Now I've found your page again I'll tune in regulary.

    Best wishes