, , , , , , , , ,

By Stephanie Timotheou, Grapegrower & Winemaker

JEIR Creek Winery in Murrumbateman has been getting consumers involved in a Pinot Noir project in recent years, giving their biggest fans the chance to be hands on throughout the production process.

Rob Howell, managing director and senior winemaker, says the project gathers between 10 and 20 participants each harvest and gives wine lovers an idea of the life of a grapegrower and winemaker.

“In keeping with our basic philosophy to provide an interesting destination for wine lovers and to have a fairly unique experience, we offer tours and involvement in winemaking and grapegrowing as well as the traditional tastings and sales,” he said.

“A recent innovation is the public involvement in our “little piece of Burgundy”, named because it has the same configurations as traditional Burgundian Pinot Noir vineyards, with close planting (10,000 vines per hectare), unilateral spur pruning , a very low fruiting cordon, and dramatic bunch thinning.”

Howell said all work is done by hand and participants visit the vineyard to weed, tie down canes and lift wires.

Towards the end of March, moving into early April when the fruit is ripe, they have the opportunity to get involved in
the wine production, from handpicking to foot crushing.

“After bottling, the people who helped make the wine are given the opportunity to purchase a bottle or two of the small production.”

Howell hopes to continue offering this experience in the future to assist wine lovers in understanding and appreciating the work that goes into producing wine.

This article originally appeared in the October 2014 issue of Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine. To subscribe, visit www.winebiz.com.au/gwm/subscribe.