Thursday, January 22, 2009

Welcome

Welcome everyone. I decided to create this site to share my experiences with winemaking, surfing, and everything else that occurs over the course of my travels. While the majority of the next several months will be spent in New Zealand, I also plan on traveling to some other places including Samoa and Bali.I will be leaving California for New Zealand in the beginning of February. During my stay, I will be employed as an assistant winemaker at the Montana Gisborne Winery, which is operated by New Zealand's largest wine company, Montana Wines. The facility has the largest winemaking capacity of any winery in NZ and is one of five wineries controlled by the company. Gisborne is the third largest grape growing region in the country and is considered "the Chardonnay capital of New Zealand" (NZ's first varietal wine was Montana's 1973 Gisborne Chardonnay) with nearly half of its 2,100 hectares (5,200 acres) dedicated to this varietal. The remainder is planted to Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Muller Thurgau, Muscat, Pinot Noir, Semillion, and Viognier. Over the past few vintages in San Luis Obispo, I've been able to work with most of these varietals and I'm interested to see how wine styles and production techniques will compare.During my visit to New Zealand in 2006, I spent the majority of my time on the west coast and was only able to spend a day or two in the East Cape region. Like the rest of the country, the entire region is quite beautfiul and sparsely populated with a resident population under 50,000. The town of Gisborne represents almost 80 percent of this population. Gisborne enjoys a nice climate as one of the sunniest places in the country, and is considered the first city in the world to see the sun (during times of the year, it’s the closest city to the International Date Line). Gisborne is also unique for its 180-degree swell window that provides very consistent surf to the various beach, reef, and point breaks dotting the coastline (the winery itself is only 5 minutes from Midway beach). While its impeccable surf isn’t the reason I’m traveling to Gisborne, it's a definite bonus.

While I'll miss San Luis Obispo, I'm excited to get to New Zealand and begin my journey. Check back soon for further updates, pictures, etc. The photos I've added are from my last visit to NZ, though all but the following is the west coast (following is looking north towards Gisborne).

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