the barrel roomThe event was organised by the Marlborough Young Chamber, which is a networking and career/business development platform, for Professionals in Marlborough who are under 40.

We first got an introduction and safety briefing from the winemaker, donned our fluoro vests and headed out back to start the tour.

The winemaker showed us how the whites are dropped in and pressed, and explained the process it takes to get the juice into the tanks for fermentation.  The reds production was in a different area of the winery and this process is different to how the white wines are treated, as we discovered. The reds are mainly handpicked and put on an optical sorting machine that is programmed to sort through the grapes.

The grapes move along at four metres per second on a conveyor belt, and get blown off by a spurt of air if they don’t meet the requirements, that have been programmed into the machine. This state-of- the-art piece of engineering saves valuable time and money for Wither Hill’s, by making the process from drop off to pressing much more effective and efficient.

Over vintage they double their staff – they come from all corners of the world to partake in a vintage in sunny Marlborough. Most of them are working in wineries overseas and come over here to experience a vintage, learn new skills and meet new people. They bring with them fresh insights and knowledge.

We topped off a fascinating tour with a tasting of Wither Hills fine wines in the cave-like barrel hall. The tasting host took us through a journey of Wither Hill’s range of wines and told us about the flavours that come through the grapes, from the diverse soils and climates around the region.

Thank you to Wither Hills for allowing us to take a tour and taste of your winery and wines, and thank you to the Marlborough Young Chamber for organising the event.

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