Pinot noir flows down gutter of Central Otago street

by Kim Bowden - Jan 23, 2024

Prized pinot noir has flowed down a Central Otago street today.

Passersby spotted what appeared to be red wine channelling into a gutter beside the road in Cromwell.

And they were right.

An unexpected find in Cromwell - wine, not water, flows down a gutter.

Although a quick ring round of winemakers located in the industrial area off McNulty Road failed to uncover the culprit, Crux later received a follow-up call from an embarrassed veteran winemaker.

Rudi Bauer, of Quartz Reef Wines, admits he was pumping wine into a tanker in preparation for its transfer to another winery when it began "spilling out" before he could stop it.

"I was too slow."

He says he had to "hold his nerve" to shut off the flow as quickly as he could.

He estimates he lost approximately 50 litres of pinot noir - enough to fill close to 67 average wine bottles.

"From a winemaker's point of view, it's rather painful."

The wine was at the stage where it was ready for blending and bottling.

As he watched the loss make its way down a driveway, he admits noting it was "a bloody good colour".

But he says the incident was "a mistake" rather than "a disaster".

In 25 years of working at Quartz Reef, nothing like this has happened to him before.

Mr Bauer says wine drinkers in general can look forward to the 2023 Central Otago vintage, which local winemakers have informally gathered together to sample.

"I'm certainly very happy with the quality of the wine."

So, there should be no reason for anyone to tip anymore of it down the drain.

Main image: Fifty litres of Quartz Reef pinot noir has overflowed a tanker to run down a driveway and into a gutter in Cromwell's industrial precinct today, Tuesday, January 23, 2024.

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