Gisborne and the Millton’s vineyards were bathed in bright sunshine on the day we visited, and our hosts, James and Annie, radiated warmth and welcomes. Our visit to the Crucible, and Naboth’s vineyards, part of the precious Clos de St Anne, planted in those heady early days when sheer enthusiasm prevailed on steep and inaccessible slopes, provided stunning views of the land around Gisborne which James and Annie treasure.
The winery itself is a busy place, staffed by young people selected at least partly on the basis of their answers to three questions: what’s your star sign? can you cook? and what’s your taste in music? As James says, it’s very important that members of a team get on, and so music needs to be easy on everyone’s ears.
[I was thrilled to hear Tim, the winery manager, making a case for protecting the wines from very loud bass sounds whose volume and resonance are hugely magnified in large tanks and barrels. I find the same when I’m underwater in the bath….]
I didn’t press for the low-down on star signs; but cooking skills I understand..
James and Annie took us to their local Marae adjoining the recently restored church, itself decorated throughout with Maori art reflecting the culture of many of the congregation
Bio-dynamic wine making is the heart and soul of this enterprise, and real reverence for the land, the seasons and the positive energy of the earth is fundamental. Even the bees know James’ motives are benign; at the end of a hot and humid day they were impeccably behaved while James (without any veils) showed us their busy hive.
Crazy by nature maybe; crazy about nature, certainly. But who wouldn’t be, living in a house right overlooking the ocean, from whose garden these photos were taken?
Thank you to both Annie and James, and to Sam, for your warmth, kindness and hospitality. And yes, the sun shone all the time were in Gisborne.