Whenever you’re filming on location, like we did when we were shooting the first episode of my television series Annabel Langbein The Free Range Cook: Simple Pleasures at the Mt Maude vineyard in Central Otago, everyone is just holding their breath about the weather.
If it’s calm one minute and windy the next, or fine then cloudy, it means you need to wait to get the same conditions in the sequence being filmed. Otherwise it just looks disconnected and odd. And if it rains and snows, then filming pretty much has to wait until everything clears up.
But if there was anyone more nervous about the weather than our film crew, it was the Mt Maude winemakers Sarah-Kate and Dan Dineen. In Wanaka we often have glorious Indian summers that go on and on, and then abruptly, without any warning, it’s all over in one whopping cold blast from Antarctica. I remember one year about ten years ago the kids were waterskiing one day and the next we were snowed in and unable to drive anywhere. It can all change in a matter of hours.
That’s part and parcel of living in the mountains, but for people who grow crops like grapes, autumn is the most nerve-wracking of times. Every few years the dice will throw a bad hand and all your year’s efforts could be lost in one early frost or big storm. As climate change brings more and more unpredictable weather to our world, the job of winemakers and farmers requires more and more resilience, resourcefulness and fortitude.
Until you actually get out on the land and see how it all happens you have no idea how much hard graft goes into that bottle of wine or gorgeous bunch of cherries. As you will have seen if you watched the TV episode we shot during one gorgeous autumn day at Mt Maude, this year the weather held on for the Central Otago grape harvest.
That means we can all look forward to an out-of-the-box vintage of truly memorable wines. I’m looking forward to tasting them, celebrating all that goes into each bottle and remembering that it could all have gone the other way in just a few short hours.
For more behind-the-scenes photos, recipes and video clips from this episode see the TV pages of my website at annabel-langbein.com