Mt. Beautiful

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Mt. Beautiful Gets Dirty at BDR's 4th Annual Fundraiser!

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Mt. Beautiful’s CEO Robert Watkins believes that when his team members dovetail their personal interests with opportunities to share Mt. Beautiful wines, it’s a “win” for everyone and brings life to the brand.

Motorcycling is one of Robert’s many interests dating back to his teenage years when he'd catch trails between friends’ houses on his Yamaha YZ250 or traverse logging roads and train tracks in Colden, New York.

He eventually moved into riding road bikes in the D.C. area until the mid-90s and after a break motorcycling found him again in 2012. He's since enjoyed exploring roads around the North Bay and Tahoe regions of California on his Triumph Tiger, and just recently acquired a Kawasaki KLR650 for on/off road adventures.

With a growing interest in dual sport riding, it was a no brainer to seize the opportunity to sponsor Seattle based Backcountry Discovery Routes (BDR).

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BDR is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization whose mission is to establish and preserve off-highway routes for dual-sport and adventure motorcycle travel. They work with land managers, state tourism departments and rural communities to keep backcountry roads accessible to motorcyclists.

Its organizers and contingent of members consist of dual sport and outdoors enthusiasts who are passionate about BDR's mission. Many of its supporters are active players in the motorcycle industry and represent familiar brands.

Some examples include CEO Paul Guillen of Touratech-USA, founder Eric Hougen of Wolfman Luggage and founders Jeff Anderson and Curtis Cummings of Great Southwest Moto Adventures to name a few.

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They also receive support outside the motorcycle industry from individuals who have identified ways they can positively contribute on some level.  One example is the support BDR receives in regards to its branding and marketing from Tim James, the throttle happy founder of a long standing creative agency called James Howard based in Clifton, New Jersey.

Robert identified the opportunity to share a sensory experience with BDR supporters; tasty estate grown wines from New Zealand! In addition to offering a year-round discount for BDR supporters on direct wine purchases from its website, Mt. Beautiful was the exclusive wine sponsor for the Backcountry Discovery Routes’ fourth annual fundraiser held in the Mojave Desert this May.

Needless to say the support was well received and Mt. Beautiful's wines brought a flavorful element to the weekend (after helmets were hung up).

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The event kicked off on a Thursday evening at the colorful Stagecoach Ranch Inn in Yucca Arizona. Approximately 47 BDR supporters and their adventure bikes arrived to the ranch and became fast friends while breaking bread, enjoying beverages and engaging in discussions about which off road tracks to explore in the coming days and how they can better band together in supporting the BDR mission.

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Mt. Beautiful’s Marketing Manager, Suzanna Mannion, shares Robert’s passion for dual sport riding and was eager to be included in BDR’s annual fundraiser event. Both having not ridden much dirt in recent times opted for the easier ride routes which offered plenty of beautiful desert vistas along the way (and a very challenging sand crossing).

We're pleased to report that the journey was uneventful and everyone came back in one piece with big smiles and new friendships.

To learn more about BDR's mission and how you can support them visit their website here. View more photos from this event here.

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Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2017

This year we eagerly jumped on the invite to participate in Pebble Beaach Food & Wine's 10th Anniversary event. Our team had a blast sharing tastes of our wines from North Canterbury, New Zealand.

Pebble Beach Food Wine

Althoguh it was a tight squeeze at our pouring station, we shared our entire portfolio including our all-new 2016 Mt. Beautiful Rose, Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir .

Suzanna Mannion And Tiffany Tonnerre Of Mt Beautiful Winery Pebble Beach Food Wine
(Marketing Manager Suzanna Mannion and Western US Sales Manager Tiffany Tonnerre)

Pebble Beach Food Wine Auction Lot Riesling Vertical
(7 bottle vertical of Mt. Beautiful Riesling)

Pebble Beach Food And Wine Robert Watkins And Tiffany Tonnerre
(Western US Sales Manager Tiffany Tonnerre and CEO Robert Watkins)

Greg and Marleen Burch of the "Flavor is Everything" wine radio show were live streaming and included us in their line-up of interviews. Greg interviews Mt. Beautiful Marketing Manager Suzanna Mannion roughly 3.5 minutes from the end of the embedded video link below.

Kevin and Dee Armstead of Destination 831 also stopped by to learn more about Mt. Beautiful. Check out this interview with CEO Robert Watkins and Host Joy Anderson.

 

Tiffany Tonnerre Joins the Mt. Beautiful Team!

Meet Tiffany Tonnerre

Meet Tiffany Tonnerre, our Western US Sales Manager!

Effective March 27, 2017, Tonnerre will manage and increase Mt. Beautiful’s expansive growth throughout the Western United States.

Tonnerre possesses over 20 years’ combined experience in the food and beverage industry. Most recently she was the Northern California Key Accounts Manager for Henry Wine Group.

Prior roles in the wine industry include serving as the Northwest Regional Manager for Champagne Laurent-Perrier for over 10 years, as well serving as a Fine Wine Key Account Specialist with Southern Wine & Spirits.

“We are very excited to welcome Tiffany to the Mt. Beautiful team,” says Robert Watkins, CEO of Mt Beautiful, Teece Family Vineyards and Farms.

“Given our exponential growth this past year, I look forward to Tiffany’s contributions managing and enriching our distributor relationships throughout the Western United States.

Tiffany is a well-respected professional in the industry and possesses a breadth of sales experience at many levels that will serve Mt. Beautiful well in the market place.”

 Contact Tiffany Tonnerre directly at tiffany@mtbeautiful.co.nz.
 

Be a good bugger!

 Support Cheviot Be A Good Bugger

Our local community of Cheviot has come together to develop this campaign to support local businesses that are hurting after the closure of State Highway 1 North of Kaikoura.

"Have you ever thought to yourself “Am I a GOOD BUGGER?”

Well now you have a chance to be a GOOD BUGGER by supporting Cheviot. Our little town of Cheviot is hurting from the closure of State Highway 1 North of Kaikoura. Businesses that rely on the traffic and tourism the State Highway 1 brings are feeling the pinch.

We’ve had a lot of people and businesses across NZ ask “How can we help?” So we’ve put together two fantastic ways that you can be a GOOD BUGGER.

1. Purchase one of our GOOD BUGGER hampers full of delicious products made with love in Cheviot.

2. Visit Cheviot in the month of February and go in the draw to win one of four $500 hampers of awesome Cheviot made products.

All entries also go in the draw to win Air NZ flights and Heritage Hotels accommodation."

Interested in participating? Click on one of the following fliers to learn more.

Be a Good Buggar           Support Cheviot, New Zealand

Mt. Beautiful Raises Spirits of Earthquake Victims

Australian News Earthquake

Watch this short video on 7NEWS 'til the end and you can see how Mt. Beautiful Winery helped raise the spirits of this international group of young tourists who had been on the "Kiwi Experience" bus tour when they became stranded in Kaikoura due to last week's quake.

They were evacuated via helicopter to Cheviot and the local community prepared food and hot drinks for them. Erin offered glasses of Mt. Beautiful wine, which was very well received. From there the tourists traveled to Christchurch by bus.

Ex-All Blacks' Tony Brown Visits Our Tasting Room!

Tony Brown All Blacks

(Tony Brown; in light blue shirt cradling a bottle of Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir)

Last week, New Zealand's ex-All Black's rugby player Tony Brown visited our Tasting Room in Cheviot. (He's a bit of a big deal in NZ)

Tony is now Head Coach of the provincial rugby team, the Otago Highlanders who won the Super Rugby competition last year. Super Rugby is the international tournament that runs for 5 months between NZ, Australia and South Africa. This year there was also a team from Japan and Argentina included.

Tony and other management and coaches from the Otago Highlanders were travelling from Dunedin (where they are based) to Nelson, and wanted something fun to do on the way.

They were hosted by Juliette and had such a good time they ended up staying for a few hours, trying some older vintages along with a few platters. They were incredibly interested in learning as much as they could about winemaking and we enjoyed imparting all our knowledge to them!

Frost Protection in Our Vineyard

Kaikoura Helicopters 

During the spring time, temperatures can dip quite low during evenings and put our vines at risk of the damaging effects of frost.

There's a variety of means to fight against frost damage in the vineyard including the use of wind machines, sprinklers, hot air burners and helicopters.

The use of helicopters is one of the most expensive and most effective methods. Their large blades help circulate the air and push warm air down towards the ground. Sometimes they fly around for hours doing just that.

If our Vineyard Manager thinks there might be frost the coming morning, he calls in these choppers from Kaikoura. They are parked at the vineyard and the pilots stay in Cheviot for the night "on call."

If the frost alarms go off, Fin calls the pilots who arrive within 10 minutes to fly the helicopters and start the fight against frost!

Bud Break In Our Vineyard


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Here in the US we are officially in the fall season however in New Zealand, spring is on the horizon. In fact we just received word of bud break in our Chardonnay blocks this morning. The 2017 vintage is already underway!

Pruning In Our Estate Vineyard

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Pruning is an annual event in our vineyard that helps control the size and shape of the grapevines. It also helps optimize the vines’ production potential, so we have beautiful and quality fruit yields.

Pruning By Hand

Performed very carefully and entirely by hand with secateurs and loppers, this is an essential activity of vineyard management that sets the stage for the vineyard’s performance and productivity for the coming year and years ahead.

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Pruning H

With 184 acres planted to vines at Mt. Beautiful, and over 20 unique blocks, pruning is an especially active time in our vineyard that spans the course of 2-3 months; typically June through August, during New Zealand’s winter months. It also happens to be the most expensive single activity of the year where our permanent staff joins forces with several seasonal hires in the vineyard.

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Fin Grieve, our Vineyard Manager, uses his vast experience and judgement when choosing which of the two primary pruning methods (spur or cane) will be optimal for a given vineyard block, taking into consideration desired crop levels, the characteristics of each varietal and the block’s location.

Primarily we cane prune most of the vineyard however Riesling responds particularly well to spur pruning. In addition we also spur prune small areas of our Pinot Noir.

Pruning A

Here’s more information on these two different types of pruning techniques used at Mt. Beautiful / Teece Family Vineyard.

Cane Pruning:

This method is normally better suited for colder climates or vines growing outside regions that are on the cold end of their preferred range, however, cane pruning is more labor intensive and risky, as it necessitates someone with a trained eye who knows how to choose the best canes. If a poor choice is made, the vine may produce less than favorable results.

With cane pruning, two or three canes growing from the head of the vine are selected and preserved for the following year. These canes should be a minimum of 8-10 mm wide (pencil width) and be one-year-old wood with evenly spaced and healthy looking buds (internodes).

The selected canes are then wrapped and tied to the trellis wire. Before removing all of the remaining dormant canes, replacement spurs are identified and cut back to two or three buds. These provide insurance that there will be at least some replacement canes should the vine not produce canes in the areas that we want for the following year’s pruning.

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Pruning C

Spur Pruning
Spur pruning is easier for beginning pruners to learn, especially when pruning older vines that have pronounced cordons and spurs.

Cordons are canes that are not replaced (left on the wire for many years) and spurs are where the buds that produce shoots in spring are cut back to the cordon . With this method, the one-year-old wood growing from the spurs of the cordon are pruned back so only one or two buds are left as close as possible to the cordon. As the shoots grow they will need to later be tied to the trellis.

The advantage of spur pruning is that it generally yields a higher likeliness for a uniform bud break and also creates a spatial balance along the cordon which is advantageous for crop loading and minimizing disease pressure.

A disadvantage of spur pruning is that it’s possible for spurs to stop producing one-year-old wood, leaving permanent gaps in the cordon, If that occurs we usually replace the cordon with a new cane.

 

The Beautiful People - Erin Harrison, Business Operations & Development Manager

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Erin is a valued member of Mt. Beautiful's New Zealand team who, among many things, is amazing at keeping our US team updated on what is going on in our vineyard, farm and tasting room.

She loves to share spontaneous and creative photos and videos of the various happenings. To name a few - our sheep getting shorn, the construction of our new lodge at Manuka Bay, a snowy scenic landscape after a storm, 1000's of sheep passing through a gate, an employee BBQ and even something as simple as a visitor to our tasting room in Cheviot.

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We wanted to get to know a little more about Erin through some Q&A, and prompted her with the following:

Hometown: Cheviot

How did you get in the wine business? Being in the right place at the right time.

Role at Mt. Beautiful:
Business Operations & Development Manager (whip cracker).

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Ideal dinner party guests:
My extended family; always a good time and it always ends in card playing and port drinking.

Favorite Mt. Beautiful wine:
Chardonnay 2015 – not released yet. Just you wait, it’s amazing.

Favorite food and wine pairing
:  Pinot Noir with kiwi lamb chops.

Favorite restaurant
: Roots, Lyttleton NZ. Closely followed by Nobu.

Favorite vacation destination:  
For a good adventure – Guatemala
For good snowboarding – Fernie, Canada
For general epicness – anywhere in the South Island of NZ

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Favorite things to do in my free time:  Catch-up with my girlfriends and drink wine.

First paid job:  
Does working on the family farm count? We were paid with food and shelter.
Otherwise, washing dishes at Magpies Rest Café in Cheviot when I was 13.

Favorite TV show:  Don’t really do TV. Too busy drinking wine.

Favorite Color:
Rainbow

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Don’t leave home without:
My sidekick, Murphy the Wauzer puppy.

Fun fact about you or any other information you think our readers would enjoy reading:  I’ve spent a month saving penguins in Antarctica.

Penguins 

Romeo Bragato Awards - Mt. Beautiful Takes A Silver!

Silver Bragato

Our Vineyard Manager, Fin, was present at this year's Romeo Bragato Conference held in Blenheim. This event is recognized as the largest and one of the most important conferences to grape growers and wine makers on the New Zealand calendar. 

Needless to say Fin (along with the entire Mt. Beautiful team!) was proud to take home a Pure Silver medal for our 2015 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc.  Out of 40 wines awarded medals in this class, only four were rated higher.

About the Bragato Awards:
"The Bragato Wine Awards is seen by many as the first wine show for the new vintage; this is a chance to see how they stack up against other wines in the same class. The objective is to give recognition to viticultural excellence and to recognize the influence of grape growers and their vineyards in creating the unique qualities of New Zealand wines, by judging the wines made from grapes grown on such specified vineyards. This competition is open to all growers of New Zealand wine grapes to enter wine products from grapes grown on the vineyard or vineyards owned, managed, or operated by the entrant. Entries must be wholly made, processed and matured in New Zealand. The 2016 Bragato Wine Awards are proudly sponsored by O-I New Zealand, the world's leading glass bottle manufacturer.” 

 

 

A Finalist at North Canterbury Business Awards!

Every two years, Enterprise North Canterbury hosts the North Canterbury Business Awards. These awards are designed to recognise and celebrate excellence amongst North Canterbury businesses. 

There are several categories, covering diverse industries, from retail to IT, agribusiness to manufacturing. In addition, all entrants are automatically put forward into the Supreme Award and the People’s Choice category which is an award decided by public votes.

This year, Mt. Beautiful entered and is excited to be selected as a finalist under the Manufacturing category! Here is a look at our certificate as well as a couple images from the awards ceremony.

Finalist North Canterbury Business Award

 Canterbury Business Awards Photo 2

From left to right: Ben Weaver, Robert Watkins and Erin Harrison of Mt. Beautiful

Canterbury Business Awards Photo 1

At left: Robert Watkins of Mt. Beautiful

The Beautiful People - Chuck Spelman, Global US Sales Manager

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Chuck Spelman joined the Mt. Beautiful USA team in March 2013 as the Global US Sales Manager, bringing over 25 years' of experience and wine industry knowledge. From strategic planning, to distributor relations, to business development, Chuck has demonstrated proven leadership skills and strategic insight.

But this blog post isn't all about Chuck's professional experience ...

We want to offer you an inside peek of what makes him tick outside of his professional role with Mt. Beautiful. Check out the Q's and A's below to learn more about him.

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What is your favorite Mt. Beautiful wine?
"Pinot Noir."

What is your favorite food and wine pairing? 
"Our Pinot Noir and roasted duck with cherry sauce."

Who would your ideal dinner party guests be?
"The Rat Pack."

What is your favorite restaurant?
"Sushi Ran in Sausalito."

What is your favorite vacation destination?
"The Amalfi Coast in Italy."

What do you do in your free time?
"Ride my bicycle in the Marin Headlands."

What was your first paid job?
"Working at my father's restaurant."

Chuck Spelman B

What is your favorite TV show?
"Anything with sports."

Just for fun - what is your favorite color?
"Blue."

What is it that you don't leave home without?
"My cell phone."

Chuck Spelman A (1)

Give us one fun fact about you that you think our readers would enjoy:
"I’m an avid cyclist and have ridden the “Death Ride” twice in 2011 and 2016 with my son.  15K feet of climbing and 120 miles at elevation in 9 ½ hours."

The Beautiful People - Caitlin Manning, Eastern US Sales Manager

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Our Eastern United States Sales Manager is Caitlin Manning.  She is originally a New England native but now enjoys living in the heart of New York City. Caitlin brings 19 years of wine industry experience to the Mt. Beautiful team and is familiar with all aspects of the industry. Before she switched to the supplier side; she was a Sales Rep for a boutique wine distributor and spent several years working in fine dining restaurants.  Here at Mt. Beautiful, she manages the sales of our wines in 15+ states and has rapidly increased the size of her territory since she came on board in March 2015.  We are so glad to have Caitlin as part of the Mt. Beautiful USA team.

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We wanted to give you a better idea of who Caitlin really is, so we asked her the following questions:

MB: Who would your ideal dinner party guests be?
Caitlin: Gwen Stefani, Leonardo DiCaprio and Elvis Presley- my dad’s idol! 

MB: What’s your favorite Mt. Beautiful wine?
Caitlin: 2013 Pinot Noir

MB: What’s your favorite food and wine pairing?
Caitlin: Sauvignon Blanc and a huge seafood tower loaded with shellfish

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MB: What is your favorite restaurant?
Caitlin: Locande Verde in Manhattan, Nobu in Malibu, and Cape Neddick Lobster Pound in Cape Neddick, Maine.

MB: What’s your favorite vacation destination?
Caitlin: The South of France

MB: What are your favorite things to do in your free time?
Caitlin: Cooking, trying new restaurants in the city, winery visits, Soul Cycle and going to the beach with my daughters and husband. I also love fashion, so I'm a big shopper.

MB: What was your first paid job?
Caitlin: A bus girl at an Italian restaurant. 

MB: What is your favorite TV show?   
Caitlin: Six Feet Under is tied with Breaking Bad for my favorite show. My guilty pleasure- The Bachelor

MB: What’s your favorite color?
Caitlin: Green

MB: What do you never leave home without?
Caitlin: iPhone and business cards

MB: What is a fun fact about you?
Caitlin: Growing up in New Hampshire I was able to meet a lot of presidents since we have the first primary. My favorite was President Ronald Reagan.  I have also met the entire cast of Entourage. 

The Hunt for the Perfect Gift

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This is a true story about a father searching for the perfect graduation gift for his daughter…

Hannah was studying Product Design Engineering at Strathclyde University (United Kingdom). She spent her third year studying in South Carolina. Shortly after her 21st birthday, her family flew to the United States to spend a short visit with her. During their stay, Hannah introduced her family to her favorite burger restaurant where they tried the recommended Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc… And they loved it! They returned to the burger restaurant on their last evening in South Carolina and the Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc was the first thing ordered.

Hannah’s graduation from Strathclyde was approaching and her parents thought that a case of Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc would be a perfect surprise graduation gift.  So, her father embarked on a search for Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc.  He spotted the wine on the website of a supplier of New Zealand wines in the UK. However, in the few days it took him to place his online order the wine had sold out. He then emailed Mt. Beautiful in New Zealand directly and they connected him with Genesis Wines in London. Genesis confirmed that they were able to supply him with the Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc within days—Just before Hannah's graduation!

 A few words from Hannah’s father…

“…Its an absolutely perfect present with which to reward Hannah for all her hard work and I could not be more grateful to both Mt. Beautiful and Genesis Wines for helping me make Hannah's day even more special - or beautiful even!”

The Mt. Beautiful team would like to congratulate Hannah on all of her hard work! Thank you to the Scott Family for sharing their heartwarming story.

Cheers!

The Beautiful Flowers in our Vineyards

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Here at Mt. Beautiful, we use sustainable farming methods. We grow flowers and other plants that attract beneficial insects in and around our grapevine rows. The beneficial insects prey on the insects that could potentially damage our vines and resulting grapes.  Additionally after these have flowered and served their purpose, the organic plant matter from these flowers and plants adds nutrients to our soil. This careful practice allows us to limit our use of insecticides and chemical fertilizers in our farming practices, and so trace amounts of these chemicals do not end up in our wines either.

To further break it down, We plant a mixture of Phacelia and Buckwheat in rows approximately 16m apart, as this is how far the insects will travel to the next flowers. That means we plant it every 8th row in our 2m rows (Pinot Noir) and every 6th row in our 2.4m rows (Pinot Gris, Riesling & Chardonnay). We plant oats and peas every fourth row in the Sauvignon Blanc for soil fertility and for organic matter.

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The idea behind the flowers is that they will attract beneficial insects into the vineyard that will attack the undesirable insects that cause rot or botrytis through their presence. We are letting nature do its thing, instead of spraying insecticides, which inevitably kills both good and bad insects.  The additional bonus of increasing the insect population is that it attracts birds, who also do their part by eating the insects. It’s a Beautiful circle of life!

Not only do our beneficial flowers deter pests, they also add some more beauty to our vineyards.

Drink Beautiful and be healthy!