A mild spring and warm & settled December resulted in a good fruit set and higher than average cropping levels. Considerable fruit thinning was carried out across all varieties to ensure the vines were balanced. Throughout spring and early summer the season was warmer than average and we were anticipating an early vintage. Post-Christmas temperatures were more normal but we still managed our earliest start ever with our first grapes for sparkling wine being picked on 25th February. Some Pinot for table wine was not far behind & was picked on the 2nd March – again the earliest on record. For the next two weeks we chipped away at both sparkling and still wine grapes during a period of settled weather and we had all of our premium Pinot picked before a brief rainfall on 16th March. This was followed by 23 days straight with no rain at all and we continued to pick Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Pinot Gris in an orderly fashion. We began our Sauvignon Blanc harvest on 24th March, by which time the harvest timing was looking more ‘normal’. Two weeks of intense activity & running at full capacity saw the winery rapidly filling up. Some unsettled weather was forecast so we mopped up our last couple of Sauvignon blocks, finishing on the 9th of April. A brief rainfall the night before was to signal what was to come – almost 2 weeks with some rain every day. We were very pleased to have our fruit tucked up safely in the winery. We missed out on our shortest Sauvignon harvest record by 1 day.
What will this mean to the vintage 2014 wines? The Chardonnays and premium Pinots looks stunning – amongst the best we have seen. The Pinots already have great balance and silky tannins and are tucked up safely in barrel now. The judicious use of a whole bunch component in some ferments has worked very well this season. Pinot Gris is very strong this year as well with lifted, floral aromatics and good flavour concentration. We have a great range of Sauvignon’s with all the flavour elements we need and I am looking forward to blending. We have continued to trial the use of non-saccharomyces yeast in some Sauvignons and we can certainly see a level of complexity being introduced as a result. We received our 3rd 3,000 L French Oak Cuve this year and along with a selection of French oak Barriques had enabled us to continue to experiment with the use of low levels of oak and some barrel fermentation. While these influences will only play a very small part in our final blends, they certainly and complexity & interest to the wines. I don’t think we could have timed our harvest any better this year and our viti/vini team is very satisfied with the results.