Spring 1995

Spring of 1994 was followed by delayed and severe equinoctial gales which persisted through to the end of November. Fortunately, the weather was calm and warm through flowering, allowing an excellent fruit-set for most varieties and the potential for some of the biggest crops Martinborough has seen. The continuing dry weather and very windy conditions before and after flowering caused dramatic devigoration of the vines, resulting in vine canopies which tended to be light and open. In my view they presented the possibility of an excellent crop-to-canopy balance, with good leaf and grape exposure. Unlike most other years, we had to thin the crop of most varieties to stay within the 3 tonnes/acre yield we consider necessary to maintain top quality in most wines. Gewurztraminer alone was low yielding, and because of consumer pressure on this variety, we chose to make this into one style - a Late Harvest wine. Severe dry conditions persisted through to early April, and by this time winemakers across New Zealand were predicting a 'best ever vintage'. By 7 April the rain came, and in some regions it had dramatic, even disastrous impact. Martinborough received close to its average rainfall for this period, and our wines are typified by ripe flavours, very ripe and fine tannins, and extremely low pHs which provide focused flavours in an initially lean wine which should open out with time. All else being equal, low pH wines also tend to live longer. Throughout the region I expect this vintage to produce a good proportion of fine wines, reflecting the excellence of viticulture in the traditional vineyards.