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Today was a rainy day.  Not ideal for this time of year but we got all the grapes off the Gradient and Rise vineyards before the rain and the other grapes still need a little more time to ripen.  Of course, the rain isn't helping but the forecast for tomorrow is sun again. Despite the rain, we had plenty to do today.  Now that we had grapes in from the vineyard, it was time to start the winemaking process.  
It was another beautiful day in Waipara.  With the unusally seasonal Nor'wester winds blowing, there was a warm, dry wind all day while we worked.  The Nor'wester winds are the result of warm air movement off the Tasman Sea that comes over the Southern Alps, dropping the water over the Alps and leaving dry air that blows over the Canterbury plains.

Harvest 2012 began today, Monday, April 9th, at Mountford Estate.  We began picking the Pinot Noir from the Gradient Vineyard, which is where one of the single vineyard Pinot Noirs produced by Mountford comes from.

The Gradient Vineyard was planted in 2001 and is on a hill facing North/Northwest. Due to its location, it gets great sun exposure, which is why these are the first vines we will pick during harvest.

We began the morning with our morning tea and meeting of all the pickers.  There were 10 of us picking on this first day and we reviewed the picking process.