We love this time of year, when people from all walks of life, and all corners of the globe come together to pursue their shared passion, making wine, with us at Saint Clair Family Estate.
This year, there are 35 extra staff members from America, Argentina, France, Belgium, China, Malaysia, Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, Sweden, the UK, and here in New Zealand.
While some come as couples, and others come alone, one of our 2017 vintage workers, Laura Hindle-Young, came to New Zealand with her husband, nanny and three children in tow.
“Everyone but the cat,” she laughs.
Back in her hometown of York, Laura teaches courses for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, and hosts tasting events for Marks and Spencers.
She had a hunger to learn more about her industry, and coming from an area with only one vineyard, she reached out to Saint Clair via social media about joining the team for harvest.
“With teaching, I felt that I could teach better if I had some practical experience,” Laura says.
“I have visited different wineries and different wine regions before but most of my experience is from reading and working in sales. Seeing the practical side of what actually happens makes everything much clearer and helps you to understand the process so much better.”
While Laura works 12 hour shifts, her three children, aged 3, 6, and 8, have been experiencing life in New Zealand with their nanny, after Laura’s husband returned to York for work.
“I wanted them to have the experience of living in another country and to learn about that country’s people, traditions and history,” she says.
Shifting her whole family to New Zealand for the two-month harvest stint wasn’t an easy decision, and meant putting off the installation of a new kitchen at home, but so far it has been worth it.
“Saint Clair has given me an amazing opportunity to meet like minded people, and to understand the winemaking process much more clearly,” she says.
“The UK is predominantly a market for the consumption of wine rather than production, so it is a great experience to visit a region all about production, where people are down to earth and happy to answer my endless questions.”
Laura will complete her diploma in Wines and Spirits when she returns home, and is considering studying for her masters in winemaking and viticulture.
“I have valued my time at Saint Clair as every individual is made to feel part of the bigger picture,” Laura says.
“Harvest is a short and intense time but the [Saint Clair] family ensures you feel more than just a number from their presence in the winery, and the fact they know something about every single member of their team. It’s no wonder so many return,” she adds.