Tag: Renée Dale

Postcard from Renée: Palate Polishing

Hi NZ Wine Sippers,

At this time of year you might find winemakers huddling inside away from the frosted vines clutching their hot mugs of plunger coffee.

Inside the lab the winemaker runs a number of bench trials that need to be tasted in order to determine the fining treatment a wine may or may not need. Fining is a not-so-secret tool used at the discretion of the winemaker for the purpose of removing solids from the wine either for clarification purposes or for fine-tuning the palate.

This ‘palate polishing’ can be incredibly subtle but can make all the difference! Due to the nature of wine being subject to seasonal variances there is no prescriptive fining treatment one can do year in and year out and hence fining trials must be done. Fining trials can even be done in the comfort of your own kitchen with the promise of a glass of riesling and perhaps some cheese to reward you for your efforts!

renee 2

This was exactly where I tasted two fining trials for my { moi } Rosé and determined after a lengthy conversation that at this point of the production process no fining treatment tasted best!

Sometimes that happens, after all that effort, nothing needs to be done. Nevertheless, I can take comfort knowing I made an educated decision. Best get that label design sorted for my the bottling date sneaking up!


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Postcard from the winery by winemaker Renée Dale

{moi} wines winemaker Renée Dale keeps us updated with what’s happening in the winery.

“Dear NZ wine sippers,

This week is fairly quiet, having drained & pressed the Cabernet Franc ferment the free run wine and pressings have been put into a small tank and 1 yr old barrel.

I like to nickname the tank the submarine as it quite literally looks like one. A small stainless steel tank, lying horizontally on its side with a port hatch at the top and a little turret for ease of access to taste the wine of course. Perhaps I should call it the “Red October”?

It was racked off gross lees and these lees have been consolidated into another vessel and are settling further again. With the use of both stainless steel and oak we will see a difference in the maturation of wine flavours helping to increase complexity of characteristics.

The blend is not shy in showing its future potential and I’m expecting it to develop into a vibrant, fruity, fleshy Cabernet Franc with a small portion of oak component just helping to lengthen out the palate.

To be fair it is tasting a bit awkward this week – imagine the wine personified into an awkward gangly teenager wearing a uniform slightly too big for them and an oversized schoolbag on their back. We all know they’ll grow into their roomy uniform but at the moment it’s just a bit awkward.

The Cabernet Franc still needs time to go through its secondary ferment of malolactic fermentation and this is why the wine is tasting a little angular. Time is certainly something we have on our side for this red. Tally ho for now!”

Thanks Renée, we look forward to your next update!


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Winemaker Profile: Renée Dale

Day job: Contract bottling winemaker at WineWorks Auckland.
Extracurricular job: Winemaker for my own wine brand {moi} wines & partner in Winery Doors.

It’s important for one to get a foot in the door of the industry at a young age but how does one keep it there? In my experience the wine industry doesn’t always lend itself to developing young talent coming through. It’s all very well doing a Wine Science degree but what truly defines a winemaker? It’s different in every wine business you look!

By starting my own brand I’ve been able to continue my learning and growth in this industry at a level that sustains my thirst for knowledge. “My Own Invention – {moi} wines” forces me to learn the process of product development, wine production, compliance, marketing, brand management, accounting, business development. Basically from word to go and I just can’t get enough!

With all the knowledge I’ve absorbed in the last decade I needed a creative outlet in which to direct my extra energies and I can take these learnings with me into my daily role as a bottling winemaker for WineWorks. I’m much more passionate because of this side project and confident my duties are performed on behalf of our clients with the highest care and degree of detail. It’s not all about {moi} you know!

Renée Dale 1

Number of years in the wine industry:

First Job:
First job ever? Cast in a Weetbix Ad
First job in wine industry? Trinity Hill cellar door sales – the best kick start to my career in the wine industry, thanks to the awesome people who worked there!

If you were a wine, what wine would you be?
I’ve often thought about this and at different times of my life I have had different answers. I can be a bit fruity, unique, structured, a little quirky or spicy, with many layers, and I tend to look at life quite deeply. I think I am a Syrah – at the moment I’m thinking of the last Syrah that took my breath away – St Joseph 2010 Vignes de l’hospice.

Renée Dale 2

What would you do if you wouldn’t be a winemaker?
As I’m passionate about permaculture I’d love to somehow be involved in sustainable business development/consulting.

Why did you decide to work in the wine industry?
I loved the idea of combining food science and creativity as well having an active job that could help me travel to some of the most beautiful places on the planet. The reality sometimes means it is very physical or grubby and not as romantic as you’d expect. I am constantly learning and growing throughout my career and it has become my constant – my ground zero so to speak and it keeps me sane when life around me can seem tumultuous.

Wine & dine, what’s your favourite match?
{moi} wines 2013 Viognier and homemade smoked fish pate is a winning combination!

Renée Dale 3

Share a fact about your winery that only a few know:
My first vintage of Cabernet Franc for {moi} was accidental – I was meant to be making a Viognier for M-Wines and the seasonal rains ruined a lot of white fruit that year.

Hidden gems and favourite spots in your region:
I wouldn’t say it is a hidden gem so to speak but it is one of my favourite places in the whole world – Wainamu Lake & sand dunes near Bethells Beach, West Auckland.

Things you still want to do:
– Make port for a season in Portugal
– Scuba dive in the Galapagos
– Travel to France, India, Mauritius and Chile
– Make Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Riesling

Last book read:
To cork or not to Cork – Michael Taber.

Advice on buying wine:
Don’t be afraid to try something new or difficult to pronounce!

Dead or alive, who would you like to share a glass of vino with?

Follow {moi} wines on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter.


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