Fairbourne Estate works hard to ensure we make you a wine that has elegant flavours and matures gracefully. This is partly achieved from hand-picking our Sauvignon Blanc grapes.
Harvesting is one of the most crucial steps in the wine making process and Sarah will determine the right time to harvest the grapes through a number of factors, she’ll always keep an eye on the weather! But other considerations are the size of the crop, the taste and flavour of those beautiful grapes, plus a little science… the statistical measurements of sugar levels and acidity.
Once Sarah has determined the perfect moment, it’s time to begin.
At Fairbourne we’re fairly unique within Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc producers because we do choose to handpick. Some wineries in the region who have large quantities of grapes to harvest need to make the most of that perfect window of opportunity for harvest, and therefore machine-picking is the only practical way to go. As specialist producers our yields are lower and we can afford to take a little more time to bring you a wine that is truly unique in flavour.
Hand picking allows us to select the grapes more carefully, it means we can keep whole bunches of fruit and any botrytis can be selectively removed. We find less damage takes place to the grapes when hand harvested and damage is also reduced as they are transported to the winery in small crates; this is important because as soon as the skin of a grape is broken the process of oxidation begins, which may result in the loss of some of the aromatic qualities of the final wine. Hand picking reduces the grape’s skin contact with the juice, this lack of skin contact produces a better expression of juice flavours.
Our handpicking always takes place during the day, once they reach the winery the crates go to the coolstore overnight at 5oC to cool the grapes, this helps to retain flavour and lowers processing risks & oxidation.
The next day the fruit is destemmed (stalks removed) and placed into the press. The free run juice (the best juice) is released from the grapes, via gravity. Our handpicking and careful processing means the flavours from the vineyard site (not skin or yeast or other winemaking flavours) are retained in the final wine. Providing you with a glass of premium Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that has pure, elegant, long lingering flavours.
We like to think that this somewhat old school way of harvesting is what sets us apart from the crowd and brings you a wine that has earned a five star reputation and Fairbourne Estate a role within The Specialist Winegrowers of New Zealand where we represent our iconic Sauvignon Blanc grape.