Winemakers happy overall with Bay’s mixed grape harvest

By Roger Moroney | 

Rain is expected to mark a drop in overall volumes of grapes harvested this vintage.

The drought conditions of December through to mid-February had effectively “saved our bacon” in terms of how the grapes across Hawke’s Bay had weathered persistent and potentially damaging bouts of rain over the past six weeks.

However, there was likely to be a drop in overall volumes along with a drop in sugar levels and in individual cases a possible rise in the cost of harvesting, leading winemaker Rod McDonald said.

Bright, warm and dry days had seen the critical early development of grapes go extremely well, Mr McDonald said, adding that effectively created a good base for fruit protection when the rains did arrive.

“There was good early flavour development during the start of the season – they [grapes] may be down on sugars but the flavours are there.”

Location had been a factor in which vineyards saw reduced volumes, he said, although the overall drop was unlikely to be major.

Of the three vineyards which sourced Rod McDonald Wines one would be down on volumes as a result of the rain belts but the other two were actually slightly ahead of their initial estimates.

“It depends where you were to find the effects where rain hit.”

He said coastal areas like Te Awanga came through well.

“We’ve got some amazing chardonnay and perfect ripeness out of there.”

Rain often created extra costs due to stopping and starting of harvesting – “darting back and forth” – as well as the need for selected picking plans.

“But you’ve just got to suck it up.”

Mr McDonald said he was at a wine tasting in Auckland about a month ago and was asked what effect rain would have on the grape harvest and how damaging could it be.

He replied that despite Hawke’s Bay’s dry reputation everyone in the industry had a wet weather plan and were always prepared for such an eventuality.

“If you don’t then you’re dreaming.”

Part of his plan was to go with “discretion rather than valour” and carry out an earlier than usual harvest of some Syrah and Merlot so as not to put them through any more rain.

“You have to ask yourself ‘do I pull the pin now and bank it or push on through?”

But he still has some Syrah out, along with Cabernet “and they are in great shape”.

Having a damp end to the season was always a threat and simply “one of those things you have to deal with”.

Mission Estate winemaker Paul Mooney took the same stance.

“We have had a remarkable amount of rainfall over the past six or seven weeks and that is not ideal for grape growing but we have worked around it.”

Mr Mooney said there had been some grape loss.

“There have been one or two blocks we’ve had to leave.”

While volumes would be down it would not be major and he agreed with Mr MacDonald that the hot, dry start for the season had put things on the right path.

“It just hasn’t been ideal in the way it has finished,” he said.

He also agreed that while sugar levels were down flavours would still be very good.

Hawkes Bay Today

 

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Hawke’s Bay Syrah takes top spot at 2015 Air NZ wine awards

A Hawke’s Bay Syrah has won the top prize at the 2015 Air New Zealand Wine Awards, presented last night at Nelson’s Saxton Stadium.

The Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013 won the prestigious Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show Trophy, as well as the Fruitfed Supplies Champion Syrah Trophy.

Chair of Judges and Master of Wine Michael Brajkovich said the Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013 was one of the fuller-bodied Syrahs in this year’s competition.

“It’s a wine with lovely ripe black fruit and floral Syrah characters, and very well-handled subtle oak influence,” said Mr Brajkovich. “The palate is full-bodied, with rich berry fruit and firm tannins to fill out the finish and ensure a long maturation potential.

“Syrah provided a quality class of wine, displaying a diversity of styles from fresh, vibrant peppery and herbal, to full-bodied rich and ripe black-fruit styles, with significant oak impact and earthy tannins.”

There were strong trophy contenders across the 16 classes, but the winners prevailed by having that “extra something special”, Mr Brajkovich said.

The second highest accolade of the evening, the O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show Trophy, went to the Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014. This exceptional Chardonnay also won the Rabobank New Zealand Champion Chardonnay Trophy.

Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Bruce Parton said the airline was a longstanding partner of the New Zealand wine industry, which continued to produce some of the world’s best wines.

“We’ve been a proud sponsor of the awards for 29 years, and are passionate about promoting home-grown wines and showcasing New Zealand as a destination for wine tourism.”

“It’s been fantastic to see such a large number of entries in this year’s competition from wineries across the country. We wish to congratulate all medal and trophy winners.”

As well as the 18 trophies awarded, 36 Pure Elite Gold Medals and one Elite Gold Medal were announced at the dinner, which was emceed by TV3’s Hilary Barry and Mike McRoberts. This year’s competition saw 1,407 wines entered, 99 percent of which were accredited as being sustainably produced.

The Air New Zealand Wine Awards celebrate excellence in New Zealand winemaking and are widely considered to be the country’s most prestigious wine competition. New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,600 grape growers and winemakers, has owned and organised the competition for 40 years.

Air NZ wine awards 2015 – Trophy winners

Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show
Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013

O-I New Zealand Reserve Wine of the Show
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014

JF Hillebrand New Zealand Champion Pinot Noir
Brightwater Vineyards Pinot Noir Nelson 2014

Label and Litho Ltd Champion Sauvignon Blanc
Delta Hatters Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014

Rabobank New Zealand Champion Chardonnay
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014

Bite Magazine Champion Sweet Wine
Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling Nelson 2015

Coast FM Champion Merlot, Cabernet and Blends
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Merlot Hawke’s Bay 2014

Fruitfed Supplies Champion Syrah
Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013

Guala Closures New Zealand Ltd Champion Pinot Gris
Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Gris Awatere Valley, Marlborough 2015

Liquorland Champion Open Red Wine
Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013

New World Champion Open White Wine
Rapaura Springs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015

New Zealand Winegrowers Champion Gewürztraminer
Johanneshof Cellars Gewürztraminer Marlborough 2014

Plant & Food Research Champion Riesling
Peter Yealands Riesling Marlborough 2015

Port Nelson Limited Champion Other White Styles
Waimea Family Estate Albariño Nelson 2015

Toast by Liquorland Champion Rosé
Aspiring Flats Rosé Central Otago 2015

WineWorks Limited Champion Sparkling Wine
Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV

Rangitikei Chicken Champion Exhibition White or Sparkling Wine
Mission Estate Jewelstone Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2014

Nelson Airport Limited & Nelson Tasman Tourism Champion Exhibition Red Wine
Beach House Syrah Hawke’s Bay 2014

Number of trophies by region:

Marlborough: 9
Hawke’s Bay: 5
Nelson: 3
Otago: 1

Pure Elite Gold Medals

Sparkling
Nautilus Cuvée Marlborough Brut NV

Gewürztraminer
Johanneshof Cellars Gewürztraminer Marlborough 2014
Lawson’s Dry Hills Gewürztraminer Marlborough 2014

Pinot Gris
Greystone Pinot Gris Waipara Valley 2015
Isabel Pinot Gris Marlborough 2015
Saint Clair Premium Pinot Gris Marlborough 2014
Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Pinot Gris Awatere Valley, Marlborough 2015

Riesling
Ceres Black Rabbit Vineyard Riesling Central Otago 2015
Peter Yealands Riesling Marlborough 2015
Spy Valley Envoy Riesling Marlborough 2010

Sauvignon Blanc
Delta Hatters Hill Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014
Rapaura Springs Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015
Saint Clair Premium Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015
The Ned Waihopai River Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015
Vidal Estate Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015

Chardonnay
Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2013
Lake Chalice The Raptor Chardonnay Marlborough 2014
Mission Estate Jewelstone Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2014
Nautilus Chardonnay Marlborough 2014
Villa Maria Library Release Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2010
Villa Maria Reserve Chardonnay Hawke’s Bay 2014
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay Marlborough 2014

Sweet Wine
Giesen The Brothers Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014
Seifried Winemakers Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling Nelson 2015

Rosé
Aspiring Flats Rosé Central Otago 2015

Pinot Noir
Akitu A2 Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014
Brightwater Vineyards Pinot Noir Nelson 2014
Coal Pit Tiwha Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014
Giesen Single Vineyard Selection Ridge Block Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013
Kuru Kuru Pinot Noir Central Otago 2014
Spy Valley Pinot Noir Marlborough 2013

Merlot, Cabernet and Blends
Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Merlot Hawke’s Bay 2014
Vidal Reserve Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Syrah
Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2013
Matua Single Vineyard Syrah Hawke’s Bay 2014

Other Varieties – Single
Waimea Family Estate Albariño Nelson 2015

Elite Gold Medals

Sparkling
Daniel Le Brun Méthode Traditionnelle Blanc De Blancs Marlborough 2009

Number of pure elite gold medals by region

Marlborough: 19
Hawke’s Bay: 8
Central Otago: 5
Nelson: 3
Waipara Valley: 1

Elite gold medal by region

Marlborough: 1

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Hawke’s Bay – NZ’s Premium Red Wine Region

Over thousands of years, 5 major Hawke’s Bay rivers moved and formed valleys and terraces to create over 25 different soil types from clay loam, to limestone, to sandy and free draining gravels and red metal.

Read all about NZ’s Premium Red Wine Region or download and read later.

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From the Editor: Dec 2013

2013 – what a great year we have had.

Following on from the regular BBQ in January we had the Mission Estate in February, a fantastic start to the tasting year.

March saw Lansdowne and Bijou with a look at developing producers in the northern part of Masterton.

April covered Easter Gold medal wines presented by committee members, while the AGM was in May, allowing members to enjoy a selection from the club cellar, after the formalities.

June saw the trivia evening and July the mid-year dinner at La Cloche.

August re-acquainted club members with Peter Robinson from Brookfields, while September was an aromatics evening with MacVine.

We followed this with a great Grant Burge evening in October and Advintage last month with Festive wines.

Dinner this month at Cuba Street Bistro will see off the year nicely.

2014 is looking settled already and we hope members will enjoy the calendar of tastings we are preparing. Compliments of the season to all.

Cheers
Robin Semmens, Editor

In the News: May 2013

Some internal Club “News” this month.

Our President and Secretary, (with a nominated driver, ie Mr Secretary) embarked on a journey fraught with danger over the recent holiday weekend. The following is Anne’s account of the trip. I don’t know how they coped.

Easter in Hawke’s Bay, or……..The Intrepid Trios’ Travels

Mission

To experience as many wineries (and other delights), in the Hawke’s Bay area as possible in 4 ½ days over the Easter period.

Participants

The manager – Jenny Jebson
The driver – Richard Jebson
The navigator – Anne Megget

March 28th

The trio set out from Grenada Village in the morning, following State highway 1 over the Rimutaka Hill. A slight detour to Parkvale mushrooms and then the first stop – Gladstone, where a sticky was purchased to be consumed with Hot cross buns.

Arrived safely in Napier, found the information center, supermarket and accommodation and settled in; had a lovely meal at an Italian restaurant, and an early night.

March 29th

Good Friday – Slight hitch – most of the Christian world was shut for today. We have a good cooked breakfast, just in case we can’t find anywhere open, and go for a drive anyway, to find Unison Winery open for lunch but not tastings. Discovered they have a very nice sparkling rose, and a most substantial platter. Drove to the top of Te Mata Peak, saw from there that Craggy Range was open so dropped in.

March 30th

Slight deviation from wine-ing to visit a Book Fair, as Richard has managed to leave all his reading material at home and has already finished one of Anne’s chick lit books. Went to Crab Farm, Esk Valley, Eskdale, had tastings and a lovely lunch at Linden Estate, Visited Mission Estate for a look around, Church Road. Wonderful dinner at Mission Estate.

March 31st

Easter Day – Hastings Farmers Market, fruit, olive oil, sausages, all very good; Vidals, The Beach House, tiny place, very rustic, very nice riesling, and late harvest riesling, Te Awanga, Elephant Hill, lovely statue, restaurant very up market, but not much appealed in the wine department . Lunch at Clearview table in the vineyard, exceptional afternoon, good, good food, good wine, a perfect lazy Sunday afternoon among the vines.

April 1st

April Fools Day – not that any of us remembered ! Off to the Gimlet Gravels – went to Unison vineyard for a tasting this time, Te Awa Farm, Sileni – wonderful merlot infused chocolate, Abbey Cellars, Alpha Domus, Trinity Hill was closed – for the whole of Easter, lunch at Ash Ridge, wine and olive oil tasting at Salvare Estate, and way out on the Taihape Road, De La Terre

April 2nd

Up bright and early (ok it was about 8.30am), and engaged in a combined house cleaning and car packing exercise; then off to Havelock North. Called into Advintage and said hello to ‘Mac’ and then went Te Mata and Black Barn and then headed home.

 

Glancing Back: February 2013

 

2015-06-17-5580e2558bdd1As expected this was another stellar evening for the Club with an excellent presentation, and some lovely wines, from the Mission Estate.

The tasting included; a Sauvignon Blanc as a quaffer followed by the Fete Sparkling, Reserve Chardonnay, Reserve Pinot Noir, Reserve Syrah, VS Pinot Gris, and was rounded off with a Reserve Noble Harvest.

A great and entertaining meeting with a brilliant turnout of 43 people. There was a good range of wines and Trevor was one of the best presenters the club has had in a while.

An order form was not available on the night but Wayne arranged for it to be emailed out with the club prices, which last for the rest of the month.

From the Editor – July 2012

Bistro107WeltecPetoneJuly Dinner

Weltec caught us on the hop a little over timing of the dinner. Seems they have to clear the campus by 9.30 pm so we are in for an early dinner with a 6.00pm start. Everyone seems happy with this.

wynnsWe do have two places available as the result of a late withdrawal. If anyone was contemplating going but didn’t get their request to Wayne in time, please let me know if you want to come, it will be on a first in basis.

In the news

This month’s “In the News” is a backgrounder on Wynns Coonawarra estate from James Halliday. James is a wine critic in Australia associated with the “Australian Wine Companion”. Lots of good info on the Australian industry on his website. He gives Wynns a five star rating.

Mission Estate

And don’t fret that we will miss out on the Mission tasting. They are more than happy to pick up a slot early next year, probably February.mission

Website

Stevee is doing some great work on the Clubs website. We encourage you to have a look, indeed we welcome feedback from members.

Cheers
Robin Semmens, Editor