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Hot summer a grape success

Excitement is in the air for Wairarapa winemakers as a dry summer produces optimal conditions for harvest time.

Poppies Winemaker and viticulturist Shayne Hammond said that compared to last year’s poor yield, swamped by Cyclone Gabrielle, this summer is perfect for winemakers in the region.

“If the weather holds like this for another 2-3 weeks, we will have an exceptional season. The other guys who are making wine in Martinborough are on the same page. There is a real excitement and buzz going on.”

Hammond said Wairarapa winemakers are establishing a name for quality, and Martinborough’s is finally coming out of covid, an economic downturn, and Cyclone Gabrielle.

“I’ve been in viticulture for 25 years, I have experienced some wet seasons before, but nothing compared to last year – it was just an absolute eye-opener,” he said.

“When Cyclone Gabrielle hit, we got three weeks of torrential rain, and we needed three weeks of torrential sun.”

Hammond said due to cyclone impacts, 2023 wouldn’t be an exceptional vintage, but vineyards worked hard to get “some decent” red wine.

Hammond recently worked alongside a “tight” Wairarapa winemaking cohort in a workshop to “help” each share expertise while working through the last of the Pinot Noir.

“It is better for the region if we are making really good wine, and we can help each other out,” he said.

Although he said that last year was a write off, it was also a learning curve, but that this year is looking promising.

“We are really happy with our fruit set, looking for not a huge crop, but an average to above average yield.

“Grapes suit a certain outcome, warm dry days and quite cool nights, so that really helps with the ripening process.” “The vines are just starting to go through veraison as they change colours, building their sugars. They are starting to show yellowing around the base of the leaves and the fruit – that’s a good indication that vines are starting to put all the energy into the fruit.”

Come harvest time, the bulk of the crop might bring a “hiccup” due to staff shortages, but they will get through, he said.

“Everyone’s going to be in the same boat,” he said.

Hammond said there was a lot more staff putting their names forward this year than last year.

He has also observed less wine is being sold, compared to last year, or the year before in New Zealand.

“We knew it was coming, we just have to manage our way through it. There is an Epic season coming up, wines are still selling, people are still drinking, still happy.”

Matahiwi Estate winemaker Miles Dinneen, who always hopes for the perfect vintage, said everyone is excited that vine growth is tracking well this year.

“If you were dialling up a model season, the ideal ripening curve – everything going swimmingly,” he said.

“Fingers crossed that it’s going to be an absolute dynamite red wine vintage unless we get a cyclone or something; never say never.”

“We learn never to count your chickens before it’s in the tank, still six weeks before full harvest.

Dinneen said the latest New Zealand Wine data indicated this season had a normal spring, reasonably cool December, and both the temperature and dryness are “starting to really climb through the roof”.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the season is as warm as 2022, which was the last super warm vintage,” he said.

“We haven’t had a lot of rainfall down the main valley, but there was plenty of rain in the hills.”

The drier weather, sunny days, and warm temperatures allow growers to make well-coloured ripe red wines.

Wairarapa Winegrowers Association Chair and On Giants’ Shoulders winemaker Wilco Lam said that overall, Wairarapa winegrowers have high expectations for the upcoming grape harvest.

“It couldn’t be more of a contrast to last year, and what a joy!” he said.

“The long dry spell and sunny weather are very beneficial for wine quality.”

Lam explained last year, the fantastic season was cut short by the effects of Gabrielle and became a challenge for a good finish.

“This year it is a lot easier to complete the season, though a drought brings water challenges in the opposite way – how to keep a vineyard functioning in a sustainable way,” he said.

Ministry of Primary Industries SOPI December 2023 report said Wine export revenue was forecast to fall five per cent to $2.3 billion this year to June 30 next year.

“This year’s forecast drop in export revenue is sandwiched between last year’s 24 per cent growth and expectations for the 2025 export revenue to increase by 18 per cent.”

“Export volumes have slowed more than expected over the past six months.”

“While it appears that overseas consumer demand is holding up against lower economic growth, wholesalers are slowing purchases.”

“Domestic wine inventories are starting to build, but sales are expected to increase in the coming months.

“Wine export prices are trending up after a decade of stagnation.”

The main harvest is typically from mid-March onwards to mid-April. “The vines are just starting to go through veraison as they change colours, building their sugars. They are starting to show yellowing around the base of the leaves and the fruit – that’s a good indication that vines are starting to put all the energy into the fruit.”

Come harvest time, the bulk of the crop might bring a “hiccup” due to staff shortages, but they will get through, he said.

“Everyone’s going to be in the same boat,” he said.

Hammond said there was a lot more staff putting their names forward this year than last year.

He has also observed less wine is being sold, compared to last year, or the year before in New Zealand.

“We knew it was coming, we just have to manage our way through it. There is an Epic season coming up, wines are still selling, people are still drinking, still happy.”

Matahiwi Estate winemaker Miles Dinneen, who always hopes for the perfect vintage, said everyone is excited that vine growth is tracking well this year.

“If you were dialling up a model season, the ideal ripening curve – everything going swimmingly,” he said.

“Fingers crossed that it’s going to be an absolute dynamite red wine vintage unless we get a cyclone or something; never say never.”

“We learn never to count your chickens before it’s in the tank, still six weeks before full harvest.

Dinneen said the latest New Zealand Wine data indicated this season had a normal spring, reasonably cool December, and both the temperature and dryness are “starting to really climb through the roof”.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the season is as warm as 2022, which was the last super warm vintage,” he said.

“We haven’t had a lot of rainfall down the main valley, but there was plenty of rain in the hills.”

The drier weather, sunny days, and warm temperatures allow growers to make well-coloured ripe red wines.

Wairarapa Winegrowers Association Chair and On Giants’ Shoulders winemaker Wilco Lam said that overall, Wairarapa winegrowers have high expectations for the upcoming grape harvest.

“It couldn’t be more of a contrast to last year, and what a joy!” he said.

“The long dry spell and sunny weather are very beneficial for wine quality.”

Lam explained last year, the fantastic season was cut short by the effects of Gabrielle and became a challenge for a good finish.

“This year it is a lot easier to complete the season, though a drought brings water challenges in the opposite way – how to keep a vineyard functioning in a sustainable way,” he said.

Ministry of Primary Industries SOPI December 2023 report said Wine export revenue was forecast to fall five per cent to $2.3 billion this year to June 30 next year.

“This year’s forecast drop in export revenue is sandwiched between last year’s 24 per cent growth and expectations for the 2025 export revenue to increase by 18 per cent.”

“Export volumes have slowed more than expected over the past six months.”

“While it appears that overseas consumer demand is holding up against lower economic growth, wholesalers are slowing purchases.”

“Domestic wine inventories are starting to build, but sales are expected to increase in the coming months.

“Wine export prices are trending up after a decade of stagnation.”

The main harvest is typically from mid-March onwards to mid-April. “The vines are just starting to go through veraison as they change colours, building their sugars. They are starting to show yellowing around the base of the leaves and the fruit – that’s a good indication that vines are starting to put all the energy into the fruit.”

Come harvest time, the bulk of the crop might bring a “hiccup” due to staff shortages, but they will get through, he said.

“Everyone’s going to be in the same boat,” he said.

Hammond said there was a lot more staff putting their names forward this year than last year.

He has also observed less wine is being sold, compared to last year, or the year before in New Zealand.

“We knew it was coming, we just have to manage our way through it. There is an Epic season coming up, wines are still selling, people are still drinking, still happy.”

Matahiwi Estate winemaker Miles Dinneen, who always hopes for the perfect vintage, said everyone is excited that vine growth is tracking well this year.

“If you were dialling up a model season, the ideal ripening curve – everything going swimmingly,” he said.

“Fingers crossed that it’s going to be an absolute dynamite red wine vintage unless we get a cyclone or something; never say never.”

“We learn never to count your chickens before it’s in the tank, still six weeks before full harvest.

Dinneen said the latest New Zealand Wine data indicated this season had a normal spring, reasonably cool December, and both the temperature and dryness are “starting to really climb through the roof”.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the season is as warm as 2022, which was the last super warm vintage,” he said.

“We haven’t had a lot of rainfall down the main valley, but there was plenty of rain in the hills.”

The drier weather, sunny days, and warm temperatures allow growers to make well-coloured ripe red wines.

Wairarapa Winegrowers Association Chair and On Giants’ Shoulders winemaker Wilco Lam said that overall, Wairarapa winegrowers have high expectations for the upcoming grape harvest.

“It couldn’t be more of a contrast to last year, and what a joy!” he said.

“The long dry spell and sunny weather are very beneficial for wine quality.”

Lam explained last year, the fantastic season was cut short by the effects of Gabrielle and became a challenge for a good finish.

“This year it is a lot easier to complete the season, though a drought brings water challenges in the opposite way – how to keep a vineyard functioning in a sustainable way,” he said.

Ministry of Primary Industries SOPI December 2023 report said Wine export revenue was forecast to fall five per cent to $2.3 billion this year to June 30 next year.

“This year’s forecast drop in export revenue is sandwiched between last year’s 24 per cent growth and expectations for the 2025 export revenue to increase by 18 per cent.”

“Export volumes have slowed more than expected over the past six months.”

“While it appears that overseas consumer demand is holding up against lower economic growth, wholesalers are slowing purchases.”

“Domestic wine inventories are starting to build, but sales are expected to increase in the coming months.

“Wine export prices are trending up after a decade of stagnation.”

The main harvest is typically from mid-March onwards to mid-April.

1 COMMENT

  1. Great news for the wine 🍷 industry 👌 👍. Can climate change people and environment people go play in your sand pits and ask your socialist and communism backers to pay for the sand 😀.

Comments are closed.

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