2 February 2010Road Trip Day 2

The outstanding weather in the last few days continues.  It has been another super day with temperatures getting up to 31 to 35 degrees Celsius in the vineyards of the Cromwell / Bendigo area.  Crossing our fingers that this carries on as the end of last year was very cool, carrying on the very cold winter of 2009.

Anyway today found Jane and I in the warehouse.  The sticker application wasn't all done yesterday, so we were back to finish it off with a little help from the warehouse staff to move pallets, open boxes and apply stickers.  Jane now has this application of stickers down to a fine art and we whizzed along.

I'm not sure whether to be happy that I was in a temperature controlled warehouse out of the heat or unhappy that I wasn't enjoying weather that hasn't really been a feature for most of our Wellington 'summer' this year.

However by mid afternoon we had done 5 pallets (an awful lot of bottles!) of Pinot Noir with 'Recommended by WineState' stickers.  A great effort that had to be rewarded by going home and tucking into some delicious Central Otago cherries and another beer on the deck (suitably slip, slap, slopped and wrapped against the sun!).

Dinner has been a bbq'd (gas, not charcoal) leg of lamb, marinated and butterflied.  In fact I think I'm going to have to share this receipe from Jane's sister in law, as it is just so delicious.  And the bottle of our Pinot Noir we shared just seems perfect with it at the moment as well.
0 Comments  |  written by Douglas Brett

1 February 2010Blending Trials 2009 (Road Trip Day 1)

How quickly time rolls by.  It hardly seems that 12 months have gone by.  But Patrick and I are back in Central Otago, and we have just finished reviewing the 2009 Pinot Noir in barrels and doing a few blending trials.

This time my partner, Jane, is along as well.  She is catching up with all the great folk involved in the logistics of storing and dispatching our wine; and to affix our 'Recommended by WineState Magazine' stickers to the Pinot Noir 2008 and the '4 Star' stickers to the Pinot Gris 2009.  It's rough work but someone needed to do it.  Her reward is sittting on the deck in the lovely Central sun with a glass of that 4 star Gris (lightly chilled of course).

We travelled by Inter Islander ferry and the trusty Toyota RAV from Wellington to Central Otago.  And just to prove you can never guarantee a smooth crossing on Cook Strait even in summer the weather was rough on Saturday night and Jane was still recovering for the whole drive to our accomodation on our Pinot supplier's vineyard in Bendigo.

But back to the wines.  We had a joint session with Dan and James at Maude Wines, our winemakers, to review the barrels.  They had recently finished malo but were already giving a great glimpse of the fruit weight, structure and flavours that are in storeonce they've settled down.  Already though we are able to sort some 'winners' (barrels to include in the final blend) and 'losers' (barrels that don't meet our standards). A few trial blends have given us an idea about what we can produce.  However, the final decision will be made in another few weeks.

Now its off for a 'cleansing ale' - Speights of course.
0 Comments  |  written by Douglas Brett

18 January 2010Happy New Year & some updates

Hi there,

As this is my first blog entry for 2010 (say it how you will), I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year.  May this be the year when everything exceeds your expectations! 

We had a quiet few days with family over the Christmas break and as you would expect we 'cracked' a bottle or two of our Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.  Very nice! 
If only the weather in Wellington matched the wine, food and company!
There have been a couple of updates to the site. 
Check out the new recipe - Watercress, Rocket and Sweet Pear with Blue Cheese Toasts.  This is devine with a glass of Pinot Gris.
And check out our updated Winesmiths.  We have added Emma who has been involved for quite a while now, ensuring all orders and queries are dealt with really quickly and smoothly.

Talk again soon!
0 Comments  |  written by Douglas Brett

22 December 2009And the winner ....

Part of the interest at the Kapiti Food Fair back on 5 December was the opportunity to enter the draw to win a very beautifully presented Magnum (1.5L bottle) of the 36 bottles Pinot Noir 2008 from our first vintage.  The Magnum is one of only 12 bottled, and is sealed in the traditional manner with a cork and with a hand dipped wax capsule.

The draw was made yesterday from all the people who had dropped their business cards in the bowl, wrote their details in our 'friends' book or who joined our friends list online and quoted the magic code word.

Cue drum roll! And the winner is ..... Alan and Sheryl, who are Kapiti Coast locals. 

Patrick, our Marketing Manager ,popped in on them today to deliver the prize as an early Xmas pressie.    We all know that they will love the prize and look forward hopefully for feedback once its been enjoyed!
0 Comments  |  written by Douglas Brett

17 December 2009Wine tasting is (not) hard work!

It's that time for year!  Spring has sprung (although a bit battered and lacking bounce) and Summer is here on the odd day, so it must be time to check how the wine in barrel from the 2009 vintage is maturing.

Yesterday, on a lovely sunny day I found myself in the barrel room in Wanaka with glass in hand, barrels of 2009 Pinot Noir wine lined up for sampling and Dan (of Maude Wines winemaking team Dan and Sarah-Kate Dineen) at my side.  The comprehensive 'after winter' tasting helps to set the scene for and kicks of the planning of the format barrel selection and blending in late January / early February.

Sometimes there are parts of the winemaking process that are just pure joy.  It was to become clear this was one of 'those' parts for this vintage.

We got down to the work at hand (if you want to call it work!).  Out with the first bung, 'thief' a sample, share into our glasses, and we silently swirl, sniff the bouquet and taste.  Then the hard part - spit it all out into the 'slops bucket'.  If you still want to have a clear head at the last barrel this is a 'must do'.  And finally we do a quick compare of thoughts, scribble a note (barrel details, aroma, taste, potential) and move on to the next barrel.  What a wonderful way to spend a morning; I think I would do this at least once a week, without having to have my arm twisted too much at all.

All too quickly it seems that we are done, how quickly 3 hours passes sometimes.  I comment that the team has done a great job to husbanding and bringing out the quality of the grapes received from the vineyard.  And a silent thanks to Tim Kerruish for the care and attention in growing said grapes. 

I mentioned in my newsletter last week that I thought the cooler vintage and longer 'hang time' in 2009 would lead to fine, classic style wines from Central for this vintage.  I believe saw the evidence.  I like the red fruits, toasty & charry notes, small berry aromas and the presence of nice acid, (already) fine tannins and structure.  There is still a lot of water to flow under the bridge but this will be a fun vintage to blend.
0 Comments  |  written by Douglas Brett

6 December 2009After the Kapiti fair

Wow!  That was our first impression after we packed up at the end of the fair.

A cold bleak morning at 8:30 blossomed into a perfect Kapiti day by about 10:00, just as people started to arrive at the Polytech grounds.  And they kept on arriving - about 7,500 in all.

We had great fun meeting and greeting old friends and making new friends.  We must have talked to well over 150 folk, and we are grateful for all the wonderful comments we received.  Thank you to everyone who added their names to our mailing list address book, or dropped their card in the bowl and bought a bottle or two or more of our wines.

The magnum of Pinot Noir 2008 certainly got people's attention and the draw for that will be completed at the end of the week from all those who provided mailing list details or business cards.  The lucky receipient will have it in time for Christmas (although it will cellar just fine for at least another 5 years!).

Thanks to the organisers for the work they did putting this great Kapiti event together.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and the date for the next fair in December 2010 is definitely marked in our calendar as a must do event.
0 Comments  |  written by Douglas Brett

3 December 2009All the fun of the (food) fair

The second Kapiti Food Fair is taking place this weekend on Saturday, 5th of December, in the grounds of  the Whitireia Polytechnic Campus, on State Highway One just north of Paraparaumu.  The Fair was a great success last year and its going to be bigger and better this year . 

As we at 36 bottles are, or have been, residents of the Kapiti Coast we have taken a stand at the Fair and scored a great opportunity to share our love of wine and winemaking with our fellow Coasters.

Our site is close to the entrance, so we you can catch up with us on the way in and then say 'bye' on the way out! 

We will be tasting our awarding winning 36 Bottles Pinot Noir 2008 and the newly released Pinot Gris 2009 at the Fair from 10:00 AM through to 3:00 PM. 

We would love to see all our local and Greater Wellington based Friends during the day, so please come on out, see the wonderful produce the Coast has to offer and catch up with us.

Please bring a can of food with you, as admission to the fair is by donation to the local Food Bank to assist those less fortunate at this time of the year.

See you Saturday!

5 November 2009Wahoo! An International Award

First commercial wine, first International competition, first international award!


Great news for us here at 36 bottles today.  Overnight the results were released for the inaugural Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wines and Spirits Competition (IWSC).  Our 36 bottles Pinot Noir 2008 has been awarded a Bronze Medal. 


Recognising the strength of the emerging Asian wine market the prestigious London based IWSC (now in its 40th year) created the Hong Kong IWSC.  The Hong Kong IWSC is built around providing Asian markets with a truly Asian competition designed specifically for the tastes and consumption preferences of the Asian market.


For our first vintage to be so well received in an Asian focused competition is just fantastic.  We are extremely pleased that our wine was awarded by a top panel of Asia’s most esteemed judges from countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.


This result will help us to refine our approach, and evolve our wine style so that our next vintages are also attractive in the Hong Kong and other Asian markets as well as here in New Zealand.


At this time we would like to extend our thanks to our great winemaking team, Dan and Sarah-Kate Dineen at Maude Wines; and Tim Kerruish who produced the super fruit needed to make this wine.  Thanks guys, your support is invaluable.


Onwards, and upwards!

19 October 2009Congrats Neogine!

Jane and I attended the Designers Institute of New Zealand Awards as guests of  Cam McDuff of Neogine on Friday night. A great occasion, held this year at the Auckland Museum Events Centre in the Domain.
Nice to mingle with with the best and brightest, sip bubbly and enjoy the sunset over the city.  The show was MC'd by Dai Henwood - he is one funny dude, and great at herding a gathering of design types! 
The category in which Neogine was a finalist for the 36 bottles Identity Development must be important - it was saved for near the end of all the proceedings.  So by that time the suspense was getting to all of us.
Neogine's reward for the great Identity Development for our brand was a Bronze Award. Pretty amazing within a category of very outstanding work.  A different colour would be nice but as with the Oscars / Academy Awards simply being nominated was a clear statement by Cam's peers of the quality of the Neogine team's creative vision & execution. 
Thanks to everyone at Neogine for the work on our Brand Identity, to us it is the absolute best.  We are stoked that your work has been recognised by DINZ.
We also get to learn about the industry's ultimate Britten and Stringer Awards!  There are some seriously talented people in New Zealand, especially Joseph Churchward who has designed over 600 unique type fonts!
The after party was also lots of fun, we had a great time. 
So thanks Cam for the great time we had; maybe we can come up with something new for you and the team to work your magic on in the future and we will see your nomination turn to Gold!

28 September 2009Our Identity is Beautifully Developed

It takes a lot of hard work, long hours and inspiration to develop the identity of a brand new company.  But when it all comes together it can be a thing of beauty and inspirational. 

That is the case with the development of our branding and identity.  It’s a thing of beauty and now Neogine our development partners, have the recognition of their peers to prove it. 

The portfolio of work from our development has been selected as a finalist in the DINZ Best Awards, in the identity development (large scale) category.

It goes without saying that we are extremely proud of our collateral and the work put in by Cam McDuff, Yasmine El Ofi, Leyla Neilsen and the photographic genius of Dean Zillwood.

So Cam and team, our very best wishes for the finals and the judging.  May you be suitably rewarded at the awards dinner in Auckland on 16 October.

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