New Zealand vintage progress

Vintage at Mahana in Nelson (Photo: Bob Campbell MW)

Comments on vintage progress were made on the 9th January 2018.

Auckland – Michael Brajkovich MW (Kumeu River)

Dry weather during flowering was a fantastic boost to crop size, compensating for the reduction from wet weather during flowering the previous year. At this stage, Michael estimates the crop will be of average quantity but (fingers crossed) excellent quality with low disease pressure, apart from a little botrytis in their higher-yielding chardonnay vines which are in the process of being bunch-thinned. Flowering was early and he expects harvest to be about average or perhaps slightly earlier.

Hawke’s Bay and Martinborough – Matt Stafford (Craggy Range)

Matt is very happy with the quality and potential quantity of his vines so far, although wet weather in the past two weeks has sparked a little powdery mildew. He expects harvest to start a week earlier in Hawke’s Bay and 10-14 days early in Martinborough. In Hawke’s Bay, chardonnay flowering was slightly delayed while reds were early, which means the vintage is likely to be condensed.

Matt also commented that Central Otago was looking at an exceptionally early harvest, especially in the cooler subregions which could be up to three weeks earlier than usual.

Marlborough and Central Otago – John Forrest (Forrest Estate)

Cool flowering in 2017 has produced lower bunch numbers, but excellent flowering this year seems to have increased bunch weights and berry numbers to compensate for the potential shortfall. Quality is looking good so far;

“The rain’s been brilliant, producing very healthy canopies.”

John confirmed Matt’s comment about an early harvest that’s three weeks ahead of normal, adding that the Waitaki Valley is even more advanced.

In summary, quantity and quality look good in all the main regions, although it pays not to get too cocky until after the well-endowed lady has burst into song.

The following table shows the percentage increase or decrease of growing degree days, 1st September – 2nd January, compared to the long-term average (1990-2016). Check out Central Otago!

Gisborne +7%
Hawke’s Bay +8.5%
Wairarapa +21.8%
Marlborough +23.2%
Waipara +23.3%
Central Otago  +71.4%

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