Bob Scott, the newest member of the Cromwell Community Board, recently spent some days helping out with the grape harvest at local wine producer Burn Cottage Vineyard.

The vineyard is a small, 10-acre plot, certified organic and nestled into the hillside at Lowburn; the natural amphitheatre provides a perfect, sheltered environment for their bio-dynamic grape growing.

“I was told that Burn Cottage were a few hands short to harvest their Pinot Noir Grapes,” says Bob.  “I had some spare time on my hands, so was pleased to help.”

After the Pinot Noir grapes were all safely gathered, the Reisling grapes were next on the list.

“It was hard work and played havoc with the back, but it gave me an insight into just how hard the casual workers who normally fill these roles have to work for their money.  I met some lovely people from the Cromwell region and many others from further afield who were travelling around New Zealand and earning their keep on the way.”

Andy Crozier, sales manager for Burn Cottage, says, “There is no doubt that harvest 2022 was an outstanding vintage for all of us in the region.  We have had to provide plans for the covid risk since 20020, so we had those in place, and we had a permanent team ready.

We always bring in some casual pickers to cover harvest, and this year we are grateful to the locals who gave a hand.”

Overall though, the vineyard management, together with owners Marquis and Dianne Sauvage, are just so excited by the quality and abundance of grapes this harvest, in their Burn Cottage and Bannockburn sites.

Bob says, “It was very interesting to get an idea of how the industry works, the difficulties they have in attracting workers for a relatively short contract and the problems they also have in finding local accommodation for workers from outside the region and from overseas”.

He adds, “A great experience and one I’d certainly like to repeat next year.”