Summer or winter, it’s a regular site in Marlborough to see legions of workers amongst the vines, tackling all the vital tasks required to keep the cycle ticking from harvest to harvest.
Those people are our RSE workers, hailing from Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, and across the Pacific nations to help us make the best wine in the world.
They spend hours upon hours pruning, wire lifting, and bud rubbing, among a myriad of other tasks, and we’re stoked to have some of them join us for the 2018 Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon, as we welcome Hortus Ltd to the team as one of our newest partners.
No one would get a single bottle of wine if it weren’t for their efforts and we thought it about time we acknowledged their contribution.
So, next year we’ll have 20 of their staff members in the race, and they’ll also be helping speed you on your journey with long-time RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employee) worker Take (pronounced Ta-Kee) Thu and his band playing amongst the vines.
Hortus managing director Aaron Jay says Take, pictured below, has been coming to Marlborough to help our wine industry for about seven years, and now stays for seven months each year.
“For a long time they’ve only been coming for six months a year, because we want them to get the balance between earning money, and spending time with family,” Aaron says.
“But some our crew are getting older and their families are getting older and they want to stay here and earn money, so people like Take stay here for seven months.”
While in Marlborough, Take gets fully involved with the community, playing football for Blenheim Valley United and fuelling his love of music by playing in his band, which headlined the RSE 10 year anniversary conference this year.
A mixture of senior staff members and RSE workers are set to run the race in May, which Aaron sees as an opportunity to help the men get further involved in the Marlborough community.
“They totally integrate into [the community], they want to be part of it, whether it be through fundraising, or churches, or just work,” Aaron says.
“The community benefits from having them here too, extra jobs come up for Kiwis as well, and not just in the wine industry, but in the wider community too,” he adds.
And with these workers coming into contact with around four million vines each week, we think they need some recognition for their contribution to Marlborough’s biggest industry.
“I want people to recognise what the RSE people do for the [wine] industry, and if we didn’t have RSE, what would it look like,” Aaron says.
We think these guys are the unsung heroes of the business, making a huge difference to both the industry, as well as the Marlborough community over the past 10 years, and we couldn’t be happier to have them on board!