David Clouston (11085)

28 Apr 2020

It has been a 2020 harvest to remember.

With 1000 tonnes of perfectly ripe fruit hanging on his Marlborough vines, Thursday 26 March will be etched on David Clouston’s mind for a very long time. The first day of lockdown was also to have been the first day of harvest for his Two Rivers, Clouston & Co, and Black Cottage brands.

“But we didn’t know if we would be classified as an essential service or not, so it was an incredibly stressful time. Thankfully, as a primary industry, we were allowed to harvest our grapes during lockdown. We had to implement a lot of changes to our procedures to reduce close contact between employers and contractors, which reduced productivity and duly slowed the harvest – and the winery became incredibly hygienic, with hourly reporting of wiping down forklift steering wheels, tank valves and door handles and so on.”

It has been a unique experience for David, who started his own wine company in 2004.

He says the lockdown will negatively affect his premium Two Rivers label, which is sold in fine wine stores and restaurants around the world; but, on the bright side, sales of the more grocery focused Black Cottage label have soared over the past six weeks – a trend that looks set to continue.

“People are still drinking wine but just in different ways from before Covid-19. We feel incredibly fortunate to be able to produce wines from the 2020 harvest, which looks to be the most exciting vintage for Marlborough in the past 10 years.”