The lowdown on NZ's seasons so far

News Insights Winery Focus

Belinda Stone

he new Tiki offices and bottling facilities have opened in Waipara in time for the 2020 harvest which is in the full throes of growing season. And as all eyes turn to NZ wines for the ATT today in London we've received this update from Tiki's vineyard manager Mark Eder and Wine Maker Evan Ward on the state of the seasons so far.

Word from vineyard Manager Mark Eder

"A big thank you to our winter pruning crew from Vanuatu, a few international backpackers and our dedicated local crew, who work relentlessly to set up the vines for another stunning year of juicy flavoursome grapes.

The ever changeable spring weather did not disappoint this year. Grape buds are frost tender, which means Jack Frost can kill or damage the buds. Generally bud break is the end of September, early October and at this time Jack is not a popular guy, causing worry and sleepless nights, much like my teenage daughter causes when she’s out with her friends at a party. Luckily we have 53 frost fans covering the vineyard to keep the vines safe. We survived one small frost event where the temperature dropped to 0. We also had ten nights where the temperature dropped rapidly to 2 degrees and hovered between one and two degrees staying in the safe zone but certainly keeping us on our toes.

Coupled with Jack, we have had to contend with Hail storm Mary, Mary paid us three unwelcome visits, again we were very lucky not to sustain any damage. Mary can strip the leaves and damage the buds which leads to poor fruit.

Our earlier sowing of buckwheat and phacelia seeds, which adds to the biodiversity of our vineyard, have stuck very well and are growing fast, mostly due to the weekly rain falls for the last three months. The vines had a slow start but now are shooting away with some vines growing over a meter in the last month. Flowering is all done and its looking fantastic. During this time, the vines need warm sunny weather with some degree of wind to help pollinate the flowers so they can set to grow into a grape, and that is exactly the weather that we've received."

Greetings from Winemaker Evan Ward

"What a wonderful Spring we’ve had this year in all our regions. Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and Waipara have all had warmer than average weather with ideal flowering conditions continuing so we look forward to the potential of a fabulous crop of perfect fruit. In all regions the flowering is occurring way ahead of normal so maybe climate change is having its effect.

We’ve been working away on getting further bottling done to get our delicious 2019 whites and rosés out to you to enjoy. With the warmer weather, the recalcitrant malolactic fermentation in one batch of Chardonnay has finally been encouraged to finish which is great.  We’re keeping an eye on the Chardonnays and Pinot Noir, monitoring their development and ever-changing nature, as they quietly go about the process of barrel maturation to increase their complexity and enhance their attractiveness.  Barrel maturation is an essential element of our style for the Single Vineyard and Koro Chardonnays and Pinots. The French term for this is “elevage” which literally translates as rearing.  Winemakers use this process to take the wines from being youthful with many rough edges to very refined, mature wines of great elegance – so much like the art of “rearing” children to grow into mature adults.  If all goes according to plan, the wines will be removed from barrel in late January next year, in time for the 2020 wines.

Summertime becomes a time of planning and reflection. As winemakers we reflect on what we did last season and how we can tweak that to make our wines even better and more enjoyable for you.  We are always looking at new ways to enhance our wines and so planning for the vintage takes a lot of thought and preparation.  Each season will be different and so we adapt our processes to best enhance what Nature gives us."

 Tiki's winemaker Evan Ward (L) and vineyard manager Mark Eder (R)




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