2017 grape har­vest un­der­way

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

A cool sum­mer has caused lighter yields for some vine­yards start­ing the 2017 grape har­vest - but the flavours are a ‘‘wine maker’s dream’’.

Vine­yards across Cen­tral Otago have kicked off the har­vest, while other vine­yards, in­clud­ing in Gibb­ston Val­ley, are pre­par­ing to pick in the com­ing weeks.

Two Pad­docks gen­eral man­ager Jac­qui Mur­phy said they start pick­ing across the four vine­yards on Thurs­day - five days be­hind the 2016 har­vest.

‘‘We are cer­tainly a bit lighter than 2016. At the mo­ment our vines are still re­ally healthy with plenty of good green leaf cover.

‘‘We are think­ing it’s go­ing to be a year of high qual­ity but un­for­tu­nately slightly down on yield.

‘‘We had a very windy early sum­mer through flow­er­ing so it was dif­fi­cult for fruit set.’’

Har­vest was a par­tic­u­larly stress­ful time for the wine mak­ers and viti­cul­tur­ists.

‘‘It is their one op­por­tu­nity per year to pro­duce wine.

‘‘They don’t get a sec­ond shot at it.’’

Wooing Tree co-owner Ge­off Bews said The Wooing Tree was run­ning ‘‘on the lighter side of av­er­age’’ for yield but that was fan­tas­tic for qual­ity.

‘‘Low yields in grapevines is great for qual­ity. It’s down to the cool Jan­uary.

‘‘The re­sult is small berries and small bunches so there is a greater con­cen­tra­tion and flavour - so a wine maker’s dream.’’

Wooing Tree Vine­yard coowner Steve Far­quhar­son said yields were vari­able not only across the re­gion, but within their own vine­yard.

‘‘We started har­vest a week be­fore last with the rose´ and blondie.

We are one of the ear­lier vine­yards to start har­vest­ing but the har­vest could run for an­other month for the rest of the re­gion.

‘‘Sum­mer wasn’t very warm, it was wet and we had a lot of wind.

‘‘It was a re­ally tricky sum­mer but of­ten with years like this we end up with the best wine.’’

Quartz Reef wine maker Rudi Bauer said the big chal­lenge this year had been that dif­fer­ent parcels were ready for pick­ing while oth­ers were not.

‘‘We just have to be more vig­i­lant when it comes down to pick­ing de­ci­sions - when or where in the vine­yard.

‘‘In a nor­mal year it’s uni­form but this year it is very var­ied.

‘‘Some parts of the vine­yard are at dif­fer­ent ripeness lev­els.’’

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