15 December 2009


With successful flowering a distant memory and berry growth accelerating, the Mendoza clone Chardonnay already exhibits the shot berries for which it is known. From our Riverpoint vineyard in Matawhero, it's likely harvest here should commence some time in the fourth week of March. These old chardonnay vines (originally established in 1978) will form the backbone of our Crazy by Nature Shotberry Chardonnay.

Elsewhere on the estate we're labelling a special order of Opou vineyard Chardonnay for our friends in Ontario and gift wrapping Christmas orders from our latest Tastevin newsletter.

In the cellar, our special 2009 Clos de Ste. Anne cuvees of Viognier & (for the 1st time) Chenin Blanc have been eased out of barrel in preparation for bottling next week as the moon begins it's descent. This involves rigorous (but pleasurable) fining trial tastings...

01 December 2009


A challengingly enjoyable time of the year as juvenile vines of impetuous nature as Gewurztraminer, Marsanne & Muscat a Petit Grains threaten to run amok in the vineyard. In the cellar the natural malolactic fermentations of the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Viogniers subside. The aim is always for harmony in all our wines but sometimes you just need a little help from a few friends...

Lama Shedrup and Rinpoche Toulong enjoying the maceration of 2007 Malbec

Lama Shedrup returns to ensure the same wine is dispatched....with happiness & harmony

Lamas Shedrup's infectious smile is illuminating!

...a further example of pure harmony - from Grizzly Bear's album, Veckatimest - sure to be near the top of best albums of 2009...on high rotation in the cellar

17 November 2009


A distinctly floral post. Snaps taken yesterday as the moon passed through Libra, a flower sign. Blossoming growth in the vineyard - flowering in Chardonnay & the olives while there is constant blossoming (and picking) of the flowers used in the biodynamic preparations...

50% flowering in clone 95 chardonnay

flowering frantoio olives

chamomile : about to be picked for preparation 503

drying dandelion flowers for preparation 506

a tea of Valerian flowers for preparation 507

30 October 2009

Amphora and beyond

Amphora at Domaine Viret, and my daughter Monique...
Maybe these are the stones you can smell in this wine...

We just finished a long lunch, kinda like our crew downloading after our very long Labour Weekend of Muskats@Millton and the Clos Ste. Anne en primeur. Annie cooked delicious pink roasted lamb with kaffir lime and rosemary, Hohepa Cheese, garden fresh green salad and estate olive oil. A host of wines have been enjoyed but primarily we did credit to an amazing wine from Domaine Viret, Amphora Rouge, from Saint Maurice/Eygues in the South of France. Fermented and aged for over three months in amphora the wine is blacker than hell, tannin that has harmonised onto the natural acidity that it resounds like a cathedral organ in the tempest of an Egyptian tomb. Most probably a lot of Grenache and Mouverdre here but you can smell, in the glass, the gravel in the entrance to this most enchanting cellar. I managed to keep a good glass full to "look at" over these next 4-5 days because this wine does not, as well, contain added sulphur dioxide. So it has nothing from science to keep it alive, only the spirit and the wholesome sense of place and intention. Truly amazing that it even exists. Annie and I visited here in July, met with Philippe and his son They were cordial, French and with a reserved welcome. But when they found out that we were part of Renaissance des Appelations, we were then part of the 'Metier' kinda like 'the business'... the arms opened. Domaine Viret is available in New Zealand at Wine Circle, Huapai, West Auckland.

James M

18 October 2009

New Arrival

Introducing Zepelin, and her proud mother Xena. The latest addition to the Millton family, born this past Thursday, already he's as inquisitive & friendly as his mum & five aunties.

Our herd of red shorthorns play an essential role in our vineyards. Not only does their manure contribute to our compost and preparation 500, as animals with a strong connection to the earth, they embody biodynamic culture.

With so many legally required statements on modern wine labels we've decided to use the cow as a symbol of our biodynamic wine estate on all our 2009 vintage wines and our new Crazy by Nature range...

This coming Saturday 24th October we'll be letting our hair down to celebrate the official release of our 2009 Muskats @ Dawn & 2009 Merlot Rosé with Muskats@Millton. This afternoon in the sun is headlined by the glorious Cut off your hands. Here's a taste of what to expect. Dust off your skinny black jeans...

15 October 2009

An Erst of Bees

Not quite what you want to contend with when you're shoot thinning experienced merlot vines. Happily abundant in their toxin free habitat, this colony is likely to be collecting nectar & pollen from the clover, dandelion, eucalyptus & bottlebrush. They were respectfully relocated to unfurnished hives nearby by Ross, our resident beemaster.

Meanwhile, the Guv is in heaven on his bulldozer....

14 October 2009

We're Alive!

Welcome to our blog. Finally, after months of pondering, here are a few images of what has been keeping us busy since thoughts of a blog occurred..

Expect musings on the rhythms in the vineyard & winery and what we're enjoying reading, imbibing, growing, listening to & eating...