The 2014 harvest is safely in the tanks and barrels, and what a season it was. Very rarely will a season be straight forward and neither was this one. In a season such as this, our long serving vineyard staff have made the difference between making good wine and great wine.
The growing season’s heat accumulation (1140 GDD) was on par with the long term average for Martinborough. Heat accumulated early in spring is what made the season stand apart-it was an unusually warm spring. Lower peak temperatures but higher humidity through the rest of the season made canopy management and disease suppression throughout the growing season critical.
The 2013 winter was mild, bringing on budburst around two to three weeks early. With no noticeable spring frosts and adequate soil moisture levels, early season vine growth put our vineyard crew to work early. The early start to the season followed through with flowering, which occurred about two weeks earlier than usual. Commonly we see a consistent time between the onset of flowering and start of harvest. If flowering duration is quick, we generally experience an even ripening of all the berries and a compact harvest. However, flowering time in the spring of 2013 was cool and moist, consequently, flowering was spread out over a slightly longer time period. Harvest commenced early in March with very good ripeness but a wide spectrum of different flavours and textures. Our winemaking challenge for 2014 was to capture this diversity and not get confused by the early time of harvest.
Early March saw the threat of hurricane Lusi with 100mm of rain predicted for the region, right at the onset of harvest. Mother Nature was on our side, and Lusi took her own course towards the west. Harvest could now commence with Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Riesling without any intermission. Even part of the Pinot gris and Gewurztraminer came in at record early dates. At this stage harvest was interrupted by a rain event and nearly marred a picture perfect vintage. With the last of the Gewurztraminer, Pinot gris and Syrah picked in the 3rd week of April we were able to acknowledge the vineyard for an exciting year with promising wines.