July 6, 2020
APRIL FOOL’S FOR THE PICKING
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
On 24 March 2020 Loren Allpress, co-owner of Boulder Bay Wines was at the Kerikeri New World doing a supermarket shop before heading back to the vineyard on Moturoa Island. Being on an island means grocery shopping requires both a boat and a lot of planning, especially when that shop needs to produce a harvest morning tea for a team of pickers. Somewhere between the biscuit and the baking aisles her text alert sounded. The country was going to Level 4 lockdown at 11.59pm the following evening. So started life under full Covid-19 restraints.
The Boulder Bay team had been waiting to pick its grapes for a couple of reasons. First to allow the brix (sugar) level of the grapes to increase, and secondly, waiting for the Government to confirm that wine production was an ‘essential service’. Having now come out the other side of several lockdowns, we can all agree that the production (not to mention consumption) of wine IS an essential service!
Boulder Bay applied for and received its MPI registration. Delighted, the team threw caution to the wind and set the date for picking as April Fool’s Day 2020. The team was ready to go – get the pickers organised, harvest the grapes, and get them to the winemaker at Marsden Estate.
At the time of lockdown there were 20 people on the island and 10 of them came to help harvest. The vineyard manager Murray Reid and two others travelled from the mainland to join in. All health and safety protocols were adhered to with the pickers masked and gloved up, and with their own dedicated rows to pick.
What a harvest morning! It was perfect weather and a seamless pick. The harvest started at 7.30am and was finished by 10.00am. The team picked 3.3 tons of grapes with a brix level of 25. There were three trips by tractor, barge, and trailer to Marsden Estate where the winemaker was ready to receive delivery. While this was happening the pickers, spread across the deck and garden no less than 2 metres apart, enjoyed a harvest morning tea.
It was a very successful day, and the team appreciated the help and enjoyed the camaraderie of those who came to help. Boulder Bay is always grateful to those people who invest their time and energy into the success of its little vineyard, especially at such an uncertain time.