Why climate change has stopped the wine
There are around 1000 vines on 1ha (2.5 acres) of the limestone soil on Philip and Wendy’s block. Wendy is a principal research officer for the Department of Wine, Food & Molecular Biosciences at Lincoln University and has a PHD in wine science which means the couple has produced impressive chardonnay and pinot noir in low volume from their small site.
But they are choosing to wind it down as the effects of climate change take hold.
“We’re already one of the wettest vineyards in the world because we get West Coast rain here,” says Philip. “We get Nelson sun and West Coast rain and it’s quite a nice combination, but the rainfall is creeping up.”
Annual rainfall has now hit 2000mm, although it’s not the rain itself which is entirely to blame says Philip.
“What seems to be happening, the oceans are warming up and evaporating and there’s more water vapour in the atmosphere. While that can translate to increased rainfall, it definitely translates to increased cloud – we’re faced in the last year or two with a deteriorating weather pattern.”
The grapes still grow but Philip says that wine quality is at risk if they carry on.
“We’ve had a period of great fun and learning and experience, but in the last five years things have really dramatically changed.”