Spring 2002

An early spring, below-average wind run and persistent damp weather brought a flush of early growth which was particularly welcome for our young vines. Benevolent weather during flowering would have ensured a high level of fruit set and potentially very big crops had it not been for our severe thinning of flowers as well as green pruning at veraison. As a result, our tonnage averaged 2.5 tonnes/acre (38hL/Ha) across most varieties - well below the record-breaking crops experienced through much of the country. Continuing rain and damp humid conditions right through the summer allowed vigorous growth to continue in a season which was like no other we have seen in Martinborough. Overcast weather persisted through this period and although grape development was obviously well advanced, we had considerable concerns as to whether we had had sufficient sunlight to achieve purity and ripeness of flavour expression. In general, summer did not have the temperature highs of our typical years, but the atypical warm nights continued to advance the season at a surprising rate. These warm nights combined with the continuing damp conditions meant disease was always a threat but, thankfully, averted in our vineyards. From February, there was an obvious transition to an alternative weather pattern: once again the typical, reliably dry Martinborough autumn came, and with impeccable timing the vineyards went into drought conditions (with a good level of sunlight) for harvest. Overall we expected (and got) the earliest season on record, with the high heat summation resulting in high sugars, but because peak day temperatures were low the flavours can be expected to be bright, even powerful, and may fall closer in style to those of the cooler years than might be expected. Our viticultural management style farms for direct sunlight onto the fruit, and the mid-season lack of direct sunlight does not seem to have created problems for the final flavours. The availability of all our wines this year is a welcome increase.