Flexibility Required for Marlborough’s 2022 Vintage – Hotel Magazine

Marlborough’s 2022 vintage was edge-of-your-seat stuff, with higher yields, turbulent weather conditions and the unparalleled pandemic issues, according to Sophie Parker-Thomson, Grasp of Wine (WM). It needed a adjust in way of thinking from industry, adhering to three consecutive a long time of drought and gentle crops the 12 months right before.

“There has been a temptation to replenish the empty pipelines with the bountiful yields – principally Sauvignon Blanc,” mentioned Parker-Thomson, who owns and runs Blank Canvas Wines with her partner, Matt Thomson.

Producers experienced to be meticulous in balancing that versus the processing ability of their wineries, a popular shortage of labour, an Omicron impacted workforce, and the dynamics of ripening crops in La Niña weather ailments.

In accordance to Plant & Food items Study Climate pro Rob Agnew, timing was everything for the vintage. Malborough grape growers dodged a bullet, but not solely. In December, rainfall coincided with flowering, major to latent botrytis an infection that woke up in February, impacting early Sauvignon Blanc likely through véraison and ripening in grapes.

A subsequent dry spell from 20 February to 20 March was a big blessing that mitigated the effects. “If it had ongoing to be soaked in excess of people four weeks, it would have been pretty ugly,” reported Agnew. 

A warm Oct, November and December intended a great fruit established, with berry figures for every bunch effectively previously mentioned regular and high berry pounds. On the other hand, a chilly and moist February hampered the ripening time period, explained Simon Waghorn, Winemaker and owner of Astrolabe. 

“We started off with several probable issues, especially with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, but the later on finer temperature kept that in verify and intended we could get our fruit to the ripeness ranges we were hoping for.”

Jamie Marfell, Winemaker at Pernod Ricard Winemakers Group, shared that their yields had been noticeably up on the extensive-phrase average, placing the company back in equilibrium just after the mild 2021 harvest. They experienced an early commence, partly due to the looming threat of Covid-19. “We were pretty wary of the danger of shedding a lot of personnel,” reported Marfell. So, the team contracted 3 crews for glowing wine hand harvest to minimise the hazard in its place of the common two.

By mid-March, Omicron commenced impacting workers figures. Overall flexibility grew to become integral to day-to-day workforce conclusions, these kinds of as closing a change or slowing device harvest and grape consumption to be certain fruit fermented in 48 hrs in pristine problem. 

“Despite all the Covid and local weather worries of the period, there are some rather fantastic stonking wines,” said Marfell.

Fellow board member and Winemaker at Hunter’s Wines James Macdonald agreed that adaptability was crucial to this season’s harvest. According to Macdonald, the Waihopai Valley subregion was a superior performer, with later on ripening blocks that benefited from breathtaking late harvest climate. The Awatere Valley was also identified to have supplied good yields and flavours.

Wine Marlborough Typical Supervisor Marcus Pickens uncovered that it experienced been a calendar year of worries, with source pressures, labour shortages and world shipping concerns triggering excellent strain. “While these factors look set to continue on to disrupt us, there is a good deal of relief that we effectively navigated classic 2022.”