Still a Winery
In a previous post about a historic winery mention was made of an old and now unused still and its associated boiler. I have now had an opportunity to tour the winery and can show a few images of the oldest part of the complex. The winery started its life as a wine research station operated by the New Zealand Government Ministry of Agriculture. Fortified wines were part of the experimental work carried out here, thus the requirement for a still to produce the alcohol to fortify the ports and sherries.
Although the still is no longer used, it makes an impressive sight. It used to be a centrepiece in the wine tasting room under a previous ownership and is sure to have raised a lot of questions. The maker’s plate bolted to the side leaves no doubt where it was manufactured.
In a room next door is the old steam boiler that used to feed the still. It now looks quite derelict and covered with bird droppings but it still makes a statement about the technology in use at the beginning of the twentieth century. The steam also provided power for other machinery in the winery.
In the barrel room next to the tasting area is a banner which shows the wine making process to help visitors understand the work flow in the winery. It’s a bit tatty now and quite simplistic, but it served the purpose.
A shelf in the old tasting room displays some of the wine styles that were being produced by the Ministry of Agriculture. The labels bear the New Zealand Government crest. In those days New Zealand was trying to copy the wine styles of France and Germany, a practice that has long since ceased. Wine makers throughout the country now produce distinctively New Zealand character wines from both classic and newer grape varieties.