2014 Regional Vintage Report WAIPARA

It has been a harvest of two halves in the Waipara Valley North Canterbury. The season got off to a great start...

 ...With a record early bud burst in spring, the weather over flowering was settled leading to an even fruit set with many producers reporting that this allowed them to crop thin to an optimal level. 
Timing was roughly two weeks earlier than normal and a benign spring and summer kept the development of fruit that much ahead of the usual season. 2014 summer temperatures were more even than in recent years and certainly not as hot as 2013. 
The two week lead meant that picking the early ripening Pinot Noir clones began in mid-March. Quality and yields were excellent. All the early picked fruit such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris was exceptional. Most of the regions hallmark Pinot Noir was in the tanks early and was arguably the best in years. The winemakers were universally pleased with superb quality of the fruit. The perfect growing season. 
...Then the rain came and heralded in the second half of the harvest.
Uncharacteristically regular autumn rainfalls with less sunshine, lower temperatures and reduced growing degree days changed the dynamics of the perfect harvest. The late ripening varieties have all been affected in one way or another.
Much of the later harvest will provide a challenge to the winemakers. They will have to take the fruit picked during the weather windows and weave their magic like the alchemists of old. Those who work with botrytis will have a variety of conditions to play with. It will be really interesting to monitor what happens with the late pick.
Overall, volumes will be down but there will be some brilliant wines made from the early harvest. It really has been a season of two halves.
Geoff Shier

03 314 2334

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