Wednesday, March 22, 2017

100 Vineyard Stories: Man O War vineyard manager

Matt Allen, got his job as manager of the Man O War vineyards, Waiheke Island, New Zealand, by replying to a newspaper ad 24 years ago.

Janis: "Which vineyards remind you of your daughters?

Matt: "That's a question I've ever been asked before."

Vineyard Manager, Matt Allen, holds pruning shears while answering unusual questions. Bird- netted vineyards sit in the valley below him. Man O War Winery, Waiheke Island, New Zealand.
Hesitantly, Matt starts listing vineyards: "Madman, Asylum way out on the east side, Lunatic. And there's the one on a very steep slope." 

(I forgot to clarify if he was referring to himself as parent or his daughters.)

Matt: "Just when you think you have it right, then something happens; you get some excessive rain resulting in excessive vegetation growth. My oldest can get an A one day, and I think everything is going well. Then she gets detention the next day."

Janis: "Whose in charge in your family, you or your wife?"

Matt: "I like to think that I am in charge. But really I'm on the lowest, the 4th rung of the ladder."

Janis: "It's kind of like the vineyard. Whose really in charge?"

Netting keeps the birds from eating all the sweet ripe grapes. Vineyard manager, Matt Allen explained that it takes 6 men to put on the netting and 3 to take it off. But no grapes, no wine. Man O War winery, Waiheke Island, New Zealand.
Janis: "So how is the vineyard like your family?"

Matt: "Do you have kids?"

Janis: "Yes. Two boys, four grand kids."

Matt: "Well, tending vines is like having a baby every single year. After harvest you are pleased it's all over. You think you can rest. But then you start all over again. Pruning. Tending the weeds. It's crazy."

Matt: "But this is my 24th year of doing it here. Before that in Gisborne."

Janis: "That's a lot of babies."

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