The big wet vintage

2016 Harvest at Mahana Estate in Nelson (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

In the past six days, 93.2mm of rain has fallen on my very green Auckland garden. Every downpour increases my worry about the state of the 2017 grape harvest. Rain dilutes grape flavours and increases the likelihood of rot. How is the nation coping with the (uneven) distribution of rain around the regions?

“Marlborough grape harvest triggers memories of ‘diabolical’ 1995 event.”

Screamed a headline on the NZ Farmer website. Perhaps a bit harsh I thought after chatting to a few winemakers.

“Wild weather worries wineries as Nelson vineyards brace for Debbie’s remnants”

Also from NZ Farmer, probably wouldn’t have done much for the share price of listed Nelson wine companies, if indeed there were any.

“Winemakers happy overall with Bay’s mixed grape harvest.”

Reported the NZ Herald in an altogether cheerier vein, quoting several smiling Hawke’s Bay winemakers.

The Met Service website revealed the exact amount of rain that fell on a weather station in each wine region, except Waipara. Rain is only part of the story but it does make interesting reading. Figures represent rain in millimetres.

February 2017 March 2017 6 days to April 6th, 2017
Auckland 60 261 93
Gisborne 109 106 87
Hawke’s Bay (Hastings) 129 104 99
Wairarapa (Masterton) 99 60 125
Marlborough (Blenheim) 41 48 40
Nelson 25 94 38
Central Otago 11 38 3

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