Vintage 2018 started off beautifully, with long, hot days and dry weather creating outstanding growing conditions and early ripening. The latter part of the ripening period was more challenging: Cyclone Gita hit New Zealand in February, followed by Cyclone Hola in March and Cyclone Keni in April. These wet weather events, along with unusually warm nights and elevated soil moisture, meant that the vineyard staff had to work harder to sustain the momentum gained in the beginning of the season (except Abby the vineyard dog – she just took naps in the nets!). The excellent canopy management techniques employed by our vineyard staff and the hot, sunny days between the cyclones helped to prevent disease, encourage steady, even ripening, and produce intense flavours in every variety. The resulting grapes were small but very concentrated and of very high quality, and we are extremely pleased with the wines produced. So while the total volume is down this year, we believe that the quality of the wines from the 2018 vintage perhaps even rivals that of the wines from 2013.
Following harvest, we have continued to experience warmer than usual conditions, meaning that leaf fall has been slow and pruning has been delayed until late June. That means our vineyard staff can focus on preparing the vines for the next growing season, with plenty of general viticultural maintenance and planning to ensure that the 2019 vintage is the best it can be!