Wow, this is the last blog entry about New Zealand. This feels surreal, especially after one year of hitting the road and the trails, and then reliving the experience with the written word. I suppose that is appropriate, as our nearly three weeks WWOOFing at the Celtic Winery, in Levin, felt just as surreal!
Owned and run by a lovely couple, Malcom and Deb, the Celtic Winery is not what you’d traditionally expect. This unique winery makes fruit wine using only traditional Celtic methods. What does this mean, exactly? Well, think stomping fruit, squeezing pulp using a wooden press with a hand crank, and only natural ingredients like yeast and sugar to help the young wine reach it’s full-bodied, euphoric potential. Yup, we spent our days stomping plums, making wine, cleaning out the winery in preparation for winter, and of course verifying the quality of more than a dozen organic wines and beers - all to the sound of everyone’s favorite and forgotten tunes from the 1950s, 60s and 70s via Radio Y, the radio station run out of one of the winery’s many sheds.
There was something dreamy about our days here that I cannot entirely capture with words. The winery and the family’s house overlook the pristine Lake Horowhenua, surrounded by fields and flowers, trees and gardens, all in the company of New Zealand’s beautiful bird life, horses, cows, hens, a loud goose, and a very friendly dog named Jack. We mostly worked outside, soaking up the last of New Zealand’s summer sun, and sharing stories in good company of our host, as well as a fellow WWOOFer, Megumi, from Japan; and the company of others passing through town!
When we weren’t working, we spent our time baking scones and zucchini cake, reading, running, and wandering the expansive beach taking some of the most colorful and crisp reflection photo’s yet! Oh, did I mention the wine tasting? Malcom was an excellent cook and our evening meal together was often perfectly paired with one of Celtic’s delicious, smooth wines and robust conversation.
Well, that’s a wrap! Stay tuned for afterthoughts, reflections and musing from one year of travel in the American West, Southeast Asia and New Zealand.