2017 grape harvest underway
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.’’