Weird summer weather but grape quality high

Mike Wood inspects the quality of the grapes before harvest.
AGUSTIN DE LA PARRA

Mike Wood inspects the quality of the grapes before harvest.

Auckland's Waiheke Island grape-picking teams are busy harvesting as 18 vineyards prepare to show off past vintages at the annual wine festival.

One of them, Obsidian Vineyard started its harvest in the middle of March in common with many others.

So what can wine lovers expect once the 2017 vintage is ready for drinking?

Obsidian Vineyard winemaker Mike Wood enjoys making Syrah vintages the most.
AGUSTIN DE LA PARRA

Obsidian Vineyard winemaker Mike Wood enjoys making Syrah vintages the most.

Yields are predicted to be down on last year after high winds and rain but fruit quality is likely to be high, according to Obsidian winemaker Mike Wood.

The nine hectare vineyard has plantings of Chardonney, Pinot Gris, Vigonier, Bordeaux blends, Montepulciano, Tempranillo and Syrah.

"The weather has not been ideal. We got 300mm of rain over five days a few weeks ago and the timing was not great - but it could have been worse," he said.

Obsidian Vineyard manager Tim Adams discusses the harvest with winemaker Mike Wood.
AGUSTIN DE LA PARRA

Obsidian Vineyard manager Tim Adams discusses the harvest with winemaker Mike Wood.

"Remarkably, the fruit has been better than I expected. It's in good condition."

In contrast, he said December 2016 and January were probably the driest period he could remember since starting at Obsidian more than 10 years ago.

Wood said it was hard to predict how climate change might affect the island's vineyards in future.

Waiheke Island is well known for the excellence of its 'big reds'.
AGUSTIN DE LA PARRA

Waiheke Island is well known for the excellence of its 'big reds'.

"There are groups far more tolerant of wetter and warmer conditions - with global warming these conditions are the ones we're likely to experience.

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"But Syrah and Cabernet Franc favour wetter, cooler weather and Chardonney is a consistent performer.

"There's a real resurgence in its popularity. And rose continues to increase in its attraction."

The grape harvest on Waiheke Island is in full swing.
AGUSTIN DE LA PARRA

The grape harvest on Waiheke Island is in full swing.

He said the Bordeaux varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot) were less consistent in terms of weather conditions.

But he said the island was known for its big reds and they continued to do well.

Woods' personal favourite is Syrah and the vineyard has a considerable amount of plantings.

Some of are 25 years' old while others have been planted over the past 10 years.

"I love working with Syrah. It does so well on Waiheke. It's an aromatic, textural wine that has weight and lends itself to aging beautifully."

Find out how this year's vintage is likely to perform by talking to winemakers at the Fullers Waiheke Wine and Food Festival at Te Motu Vineyard, Onetangi Rd, on April 1, from 11am to 5pm.

See eventfina.co.nz for bookings and more information.

 

 

 

 - Stuff

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