Friday 11 May 2012: Fields of Gold
Better viewed LARGE
I've seen some glorious blips of springtime Oilseed Rape fields from the northern hemisphere recently, contrasting with those of our autumnal golden fields from down under. Although none of them are barley, they're all 'Fields of Gold' (with thanks to Sting).
Well, I'm glad to say that the weather was a little better this morning - but only marginally. At least it wasn't actually raining, which was a good thing as I had to drive out to Upper Moutere to have a look at a winery that's for sale, on behalf of some potential purchasers who are living overseas.
Moutere is a drive of approximately half an hour from my home in a very pretty area of rolling hills, streams and woodland. There are quite a few vineyards and orchards out there so the drive was lovely and the autumn colours were noticeably more advanced than here in town. Glorious reds, oranges and rich golds brightened up the rather gloomy day and I noticed that the greyness actually seemed to lend a luminousity to the colours.
The winery itself is tucked away among the hills, with pleasant surroundings and a pond (more like a little lake really) in the distance. It has been substantially reduced in price because the smaller boutique vineyards are all feeling the pinch resulting from the global oversupply of grapes. In fact, some of the vineyards in the area have started pulling out their vines as the land is now worth more without them. It was sad to see pristine winemaking equipment; testing laboratory; casks and cases of unsold wine; tasting room and a café with a big commercial kitchen attached all standing idle and, as the agent put it, 'like Sleeping Beauty's castle.'
On the other hand, at the reduced price it offers great potential for someone who would be prepared to put in some hard work to tidy it up, give it a little TLC and rejuvenate the café as a restaurant, maybe making that the focal point. There's lots one could do with the place..... but that's not for me to decide; my job was just to go and have a look, take some pictures and report back!
I shot this image on the way back, looking towards Upper Moutere village. The golden rows of autumn vines belonging to Kahurangi Estate (still a thriving business) are some of the longest-established commercial vines in the South Island and they looked stunning, even in the uninspiring light. I could have wished for a more dramatic sky.... but it wasn't that sort of day. By this afternoon we were once again blanketed in the sort of low, slow-moving cloud that just dispenses cold, damp drizzle.